Gemcon Khulna won the lottery that determined which team Mashrafe Mortaza would represent in the ongoing Bangabandhu Cup T20. The BCB held a lottery in its conference room today where four teams - Khulna, Fortune Barishal, Beximco Dhaka and Minister Rajshahi - had their names in a bowl. As it turned out, the board director Jalal Yunus drew the name of Khulna from it.
Mortaza passed a fitness test and also underwent a Covid-19 test this morning. But only after he tests negative for Covid-19 will he be eligible to enter the BCB's biosecure bubble and officially join the Khulna team. He had already begun bowling with a full run-up last week following a recovery from a hamstring injury that he suffered last month, which came on the back of him having also contracted the coronavirus a few months back.
Khulna, who are in action against Minister Rajshahi in their sixth game today, have two more matches left. Mortaza's addition means he joins his national side team-mates Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan in their side.
Kazi Inam Ahmed, the managing director of Gemcon Sports - the company which owns the Khulna team - said they are happy to see Mortaza join Khulna, a division that has Narail, his hometown and the constituency he represents as a member of parliament, as one of its districts.
"We are excited and delighted to have [got] Mashrafe Mortaza in the lottery held by BCB, where four teams participated," Ahmed said. "Mashrafe has never played for any Khulna franchise in the BPL, so it is a huge deal to have him. He is from Khulna division - from Narail district - where he is a member of parliament, and he will now play the Bangabandhu T20 Cup.
"He is always a big impact player, so I am sure this will be a real motivation for the rest of the team. I hope my team can do even better with him around and I wish that he has a good tournament."
When Mortaza was declared fit by the BCB trainer Tushar Kanti Howlader, Khulna were among four teams who had voiced their interest to take the veteran pace bowler.
Later on, even Barishal, Dhaka and Rajshahi showed an inclination to have Mortaza in their side. The BCB had already mentioned that once fit, Mortaza would be made available to any team during the competition, and if there was more than one team who was interested in having him, they would conduct a lottery.
Mortaza's last competitive match was a Dhaka Premier League game for Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club against Khelaghar Samaj Kallyan Samity as far back as March 16. By then, he had resigned as Bangladesh's ODI captain, having led his team to a 3-0 sweep in the ODI series against Zimbabwe earlier that month.