‘With consistency they can serve Bangladesh for a long time’
All eyes were on the Sher-e-Bangla National stadium in Mirpur yesterday, where the executive meeting of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), after which board president Nazmul Hassan addressed the media. National players' central contracts were among the major issues in the meeting, with six cricketers cut from the contracts after consideration of their performance. 10 cricketers were retained the central contracts list and three more players will be added as rookies to make it 13.
While the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim were retained, a few renowned names of Bangladesh cricket missed out on a central contract. The six cricketers that are likely to miss out on the contract are Soumya Sarkar, Mosaddek Hossain, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Imrul Kayes, Taskin Ahmed and Sabbir Rahman.
According to BCB media committee chairman Jalal Younus, the performance of these players "have not been up to a level that makes a compelling case for them to be included in the contract."
Mashrafe said about the situation: "First of all, I was not concerned about whether I was within the payroll or not. It wasn't clear to me. My passion was always to play cricket."
Mashrafe suggested that anybody can go through a bad patch and it is important to support the players who fell out of the central contract.
"They are not going to sit around, obviously they have to try and come back. I believe they are capable. You will find that those that have been left out have contributed to Bangladesh cricket in the past.
"Maybe they are going through a bad patch. The thing about the payroll is that it depends on the cricket board. Those of us who are seniors in the side will look to support them so that they can return to form and serve Bangladesh cricket for a long time."
Mashrafe however served notice when he talked about a key tenant of international cricket -- one that is required to become an established member in the side, that of consistency. Many of the names that might be left out of the central contract have been found lacking in the consistency department. Be it international cricket or domestic cricket, the likes of Soumya, Sabbir and Taskin have dazzled in one or two games but failed to maintain their performance. Mashrafe is no stranger to consistency and his form in the recently concluded Dhaka Premier League showed how well Mashrafe understands the demands of today's cricket.
"My belief is that if they can return to form with increased consistency then they can serve Bangladesh for a long time.
"There is a lot of pressure on them. Cricket has become much more difficult. Many little things are scrutinized.
"Us senior cricketers will look to help them and they themselves will have to try to return to their best form," the Bangladesh ODI captain suggested.