I rejected Rs.100 mn offer: Bangladesh cricket vice captain

September 24th, 2008 - 2:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Sep 24 (IANS) Vice captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza of Bangladesh’s revived cricket team said he had rejected a Rs.10 crore (Rs.100 million) offer made by the Indian Cricket League (ICL), while 13 of his colleagues accepted them. “I turned down an offer of Rs.10 crore from the ICL authority. I had been offered Rs.8 crore before it was raised to Rs.10 crore,” Mashrafe told reporters here Tuesday, a week after 13 Bangladeshi cricketers flew to India to form the new team “Dhaka Warriors” of the rebel Indian league.

The Daily Star newspaper termed it “a dazzling disclosure” and called Mashrafe “a braveheart”.

Mashrafe said the first reason was “I didn’t feel like it and I was sure no member of my family would speak to me if I join the ICL”.

Second, “money is important and no doubt all professional players play for money. But in my opinion for a player’s first priority should be his country”.

While Mashrafe was allowed to speak to the media Tuesday, the embargo continued on captain Mohammad Ashraful who, media reports say, had “secretly encouraged” other players to join ICL. However, Ashraful has denied the allegation.

Bangladesh’s Australian coach Jamie Siddons said the skipper is “innocent”.

Speaking at length about the ICL offer, Mashrafe said the ICL authorities had rung him up several times offering to build a team before the Australia tour. But he did not show any interest. “I didn’t inform anybody because my mind did not spontaneously respond to the proposal.

“The main thing is whether you have the confidence about your place in the national side. They (the rebel cricketers) took their own decision and I believe time and tide wait for none.

“If I also leave the team, it will create a void but a backup would definitely be there in my place. Besides, say, if one of those (of who joined the ICL) was injured supposing that he was still in the side, we’d still have to play without him. It’s very simple.”

While “Dhaka Warriors” prepare to play Twenty20, the new-look Bangladesh side prepares to receive the New Zealand team to play two Tests and three one-day internationals.

“I don’t think the departure of some players will have too much impact on the team and the future of Bangladesh cricket, but I believe a few of those cricketers who retired still had a lot to offer to the country. I urged them to reconsider their decision and come back to the national fold,” Mashrafe said.

He believes that there is a scope for some to return to the national squad.

“I can’t explain why but I believe we will play better cricket this time compared with what we had played in the Australia tour. It may be that we will play in familiar conditions,” he said.

“It seems the players are very eager to show better performance in the coming series. We should now think about the players available instead of the players who already left us. We should think positively about those who are now in the squad,” Mashrafe opined.

Recovering from an injury, Mashrafe was excited about the confirmation of his fitness by Australian surgeon David Young.

“I stayed two more days in Australia after the tour and visited my doctor in Melbourne. I am really a relieved man after the check-up as Young assured me that my knees are okay and there is no problem for me to take the full load in my bowling,” informed Mashrafe.

“I have had fear with the pain in my knee but now I am tensionless and all set to bowl with my full pace,” he said.

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