Bangladeshi cricketers pose with the tournament trophy following the third one-day international (ODI) between Bangladesh and Windies at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday. (Inset) Mashrafe poses with the ODI series trophy. Photo: AFP/Collected

Sports Desk
Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has made it clear that he is not thinking about retiring just now, report agencies.
“I have not given it (retirement) a deep thought. We want to prepare ourselves for the challenges that lie ahead. There are challenges ahead, and I want to be more prepared to face those. What I will do after the World Cup, I will decide after the last match in the World Cup. So, don’t be puzzled. Just relax,”” he told the media after leading Tigers to a 2-1 series win against Windies on Friday.
His recent involvement in national politics and decision to contest from his home district added fuel to speculations about his retirement. The 35-year-old had previously said he could retire after the next World Cup.
Mashrafe assured his fans that his political involvement did not distract him from the game. “It was just like any other series for me. I was completely focused,” he said. Mashrafe is now eyeing to do well in New Zealand in their next series.
“We have the New Zealand series coming up. It is an important series for us since we lost to them last year. I think we have a more balanced side, and we hope to do well there.”
Meanwhile, Mashrafe Mortaza insists he is not another Imran Khan, Pakistan‘s cricketing superhero-turned-prime minister. “To be honest, the level where Imran Khan has reached, people cannot always reach there even if they want to,” Mashrafe told AFP in an interview. “My desire is to do something for sports since I am a sportsman, my wish is limited here. I will work for my region to see if I can do something good.”
Mashrafe hails from Narail, has donated ambulances to hospitals and high-yield rice seeds to farmers.
Mashrafe’s die-hard attitude off the pitch and on-field expressions of patriotism could well endear him to voters.
When Mashrafe announced his decision to enter politics, many fans were openly critical. Some fans criticised him for joining the party of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. But Mashrafe insists that he will not be dragged down.
“All I can say from my position is the people who are in a different party or believe in a different political belief, I don’t have any disrespect for them,” he said. “Even though I’m supporting my party wholeheartedly, I have 100 percent respect for them and will continue to have it. “I’m saying this because every person has the right to support who they want to support. I can only respect the opposition from my heart, which I really do.”
Mashrafe will be busy for the rest of the month as he prepares to participate in the December 30 parliamentary election from Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League party. His next cricketing assignment is against New Zealand, where the Tigers will play three Tests and three ODIs.
Bangladesh have seven ODIs before the showpiece event in England next year. But they will not play any other ODI at home before the World Cup.