Rhodes Pays Tribute to Mashrafe as he Prepares for his World Cup Goodbye
Steve Rhodes paid tribute to captain Mashrafe Mortaza - but claims Bangladesh cricket is in a strong position whatever decision he makes on his future.
Mashrafe admits Friday’s clash with Pakistan at Lord’s will be his last ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup game and what better place to enjoy that moment than the ‘Home of Cricket’.
But the 35-year old, who became a member of the Bangladesh parliament earlier this year, has yet to make public his immediate plans ahead of a three-match ODI series in Sri Lanka.
“I often use the word warrior, but he goes to war for the team, does Mashrafe, and people respect that, understand that, and they love him because of it,” said head coach Rhodes.
“It’s his last World Cup and it will be emotional for him. Hopefully, the boys will give him the right sort of respect playing his last game in the World Cup, but then most importantly, we'll concentrate on the match.
“Bangladesh has to move on eventually without Mash, and whether it's after this tournament or whether it's in a year's time, at some stage, like all the great countries in international cricket, and we have to do without. It's not always easy and it can be a difficult void to fill.
“He's our leader and if he's on that plane to Sri Lanka, fine. If he's decided something different, then fine too, we move on.”
Rhodes is determined to end Bangladesh’s tournament on a high against Pakistan, where a fourth tournament win would represent a good return for the head coach.
Sarfaraz Ahmed’s team can still mathematically make the final four but Rhodes is in no mood to help those slender hopes.
“If we beat Pakistan, I think we've had a very good World Cup, even though we've not qualified for the semi-finals,” he added.
“We've showed a lot of fight and if we carry on doing that, then we're going to improve and improve and improve.
“There's one more game to go and one special occasion at Lord’s. If we can take the scalp of Pakistan in the World Cup, we'll be very, very proud of the boys.”
Rhodes is no stranger to success at cricket’s most storied setting, as a wicket-keeper for the Worcestershire team who enjoyed success here in the 1990s.
Bangladesh have played two Test matches at the ground, losing on both occasions in 2005 and 2010, but this will be their first one-day international.
“The players really enjoyed walking through those famous gates,” added Rhodes.
“As soon as they got in the pavilion, you could see them looking at the paintings along the walls of the staircase, and then heading into the changing rooms and looking at the boards with five wicket hauls and test match 100s.
“A few of them straight out onto the balcony and looked at the marvelous scene in front of them, with a beautiful carpet of grass and big stands everywhere.
“That's what you need to do at Lord's. You need to not let it overpower you, but take it all in because it's one of the best places to play cricket, a real privilege.
“Hopefully, they'll have happy memories but nobody likes losing here.”
© Cricket World 2019