Champions Trophy driving Mashrafe to work harder

Dhaka, June 26 (IANS) Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was contemplating calling time on his career but the Bangladesh captain has changed his mind after his team qualified for the Champions Trophy. He has now fresh motivation to drive him.

Mashrafe, now 31, wants to continue playing at least until the tournament in England in 2017. Though he has not taken any final decision, he is thinking of not dragging too long his injury-plagued career, reports bdnews24.com.

All that has changed after Bangladesh qualified for the Champions Trophy by beating India in the second One-Day International (ODI). He is now feeling a renewed passion.

“Though I did not seriously consider retiring, thoughts of hanging up the boots were definitely at the back of my mind. I had decided not to prolong my career. But now that we have qualified, let me work hard for a few more years,” Mashrafe said.

“After the World Cup, Champions Trophy is the most prestigious tournament. It will be great if I can play in this tournament.”

At just 31, he, however, is far from the age when players retire. He will be 35 during the next World Cup in 2019. It is not unusual to play international cricket at that age.

But the skipper has been blighted by injuries almost throughout his 14-year career. Only sheer grit and passion to play for the country have helped him to redeem himself.

The strapping pace bowler did not give up even after seven surgeries on his knees. Over the last eight months, Mashrafe led Bangladesh to new heights, but he knows he will have to give up at one point. He has also not yet decided to quit after the 2017 Champions Trophy.

“It is hard to predict what will happen to one’s career in future. So I don’t want to say anything definitive. I am only saying I am feeling inspired again to play in the Champions Trophy. I want to work little harder to keep myself fit so that I can continue to play until that time,” Mashrafe said.

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