Mashrafe Bin Mortaza should be awarded the 'ICC Spirit of Cricket' award.
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Mashrafe bin Mortaza, the limited-over captain of the Bangladesh cricket team, has completed 16 years in his professional career since making his Test debut against Zimbabwe back in November 8, 2001 at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.
Since his international bow, Mashrafe has been through many ups and downs in his cricketing life. His career experienced a roller-coaster ride. Mashrafe got injured countless times during his career and had to undergo several major surgeries in his two knees.
But each and every single time, he came back strong on the field and managed to perform at the top level. Many people wrote him off after each injury but every time, Mashrafe proved everybody wrong and regained match fitness.
If it was anyone but Mashrafe, perhaps he would consider quitting but not the “Narail Express”. Thankfully, he did not think that way. And that is his uniqueness. Passion and love for the game are the main motto of Mashrafe.
However, it was anything but an easy ride for the inspirational leader. He bowls with bandages on both his legs and it has been a common scene in the domestic arena as well. As an all-rounder, Mashrafe did not just have to fight against other batsmen or bowlers for a place in the side but he had to overcome his injuries too.
There are so many stories about him that can be mentioned. But most importantly, it’s Mashrafe the human being and the leader who has won millions of hearts and set an example for others to follow.
Mashrafe is not the fastest bowler of the world, or the finest all-rounder in recent times. But as a cricketer and as a captain, he is surely an example to follow. That’s why hundreds of cricketers in Bangladesh, who play in the domestic arena, have categorised Mashrafe as their idol.
Injuries might have hampered his Test career but he is still Bangladesh’s best leader, be it ODIs or T20s. What’s more, he is probably the greatest ever captain the Tigers have ever produced.
So, Mashrafe is not just a good cricketer, he is an inspiration, idol to the millions of cricket-crazy Bangladesh fans and also all around the world.
He has retired from t20i cricket. He will only play ODIs. Mortaza has missed more matches than he has played due to various leg, knee and ankle injuries. At the last count, he has been sidelined 11 times due to injuries and undergone surgery seven times over the last decade. Despite having seven surgeries on his two knees he kept on playing cricket for his country as cricket is his passion.
He has modified his bowling action to lessen the burden on his legs, but the desperation to play and do well for Bangladesh means he has been unable to rest his body for long periods.
"You have to bear the pain if you want to perform for your country," said Mortaza. "But the pain goes away when you do well and the team wins."
That's his spirit.
How many players have fought back from injuries like he has? Not once but several times?
Yes, he deserves the ICC Spirit of Cricket award.
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