Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza does not understand cricket-based patriotism, saying that doctors and labourers are the real stars and not cricketers.
Bangladesh lost to India in the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. “I am a cricketer but can I save a life? A doctor can. But no-one claps for the best doctor in the country. Create myths around them. They will save more lives. They are the stars. The labourers are the stars, they build the country. What have we built using cricket? Can we make even a brick using cricket? Does paddy grow on the cricket field? Those who make courtyards using bricks, make things at factories, grow crops in the fields – they are the stars,” Mortaza has been reported by Scroll as saying.
Mortaza further said that cricketers are performing artists who take money and perform. “What do we do? If I say it very bluntly – we take money, we perform. Like a singer or an actor, we do performing art. Nothing more. The Muktijoddhad [1971 Liberation warriors] didn’t face bullets to get money on winning. Who is being compared to whom? If there are any heroes in cricket, they are Rakibul Hasans or martyrs like [Abdul Halim] Jewel… Rakibul Bhai had dared to enter the cricket field with ‘Joy Bangla’ inscribed on his bat [before the 1971 Liberation]. That’s big.” He said. “Even bigger was his going to the front with his father’s gun. Shohid (martyr) Jewel left cricket and joined the crack platoon [a 1971 Liberation war guerrilla formation]. That’s bravery. Dealing with fast-bowling has romanticism and duty, not bravery.”
“I say, those who cry ‘patriotism, patriotism’ around cricket, if all of them for one day did not drop banana skin on the streets or did not spit on the streets or obeyed traffic rules, the country would have changed. This huge energy was not wasted after cricket and was used to do one’s work honestly even for a day, that would be showing patriotism. I don’t understand the definition of patriotism of these people,” added Mortaza.