"It is a big achievement to represent the country,” said Mashrafe. “Being the captain on top of that is a matter of great honour. It is a special thing to be able to represent Bangladesh as captain in the most matches.”
Mashrafe is the most successful captain in Bangladesh cricket history. Under his leadership, Bangladesh has won 39 out of 68 ODI matches. Under Habibul, Bangladesh had won 29 out of 69. Shakib Al Hasan has 23 victories from 50 matches while Mushfiqur Rahim has managed 11 out of 37.
Statistically, Mashrafe remains ahead of Habibul but to Mashrafe, Habibul is the greatest ever.
"I have always said that Sumon Bhai had captained Bangladesh through its most difficult period. He taught the team how to win matches despite the many limitations. We really cannot compare that time period with ours. Before him no captain could keep the job for longer than a year. The team kept losing and the captains’ job was difficult. He managed to captain the side in that situation for three/four years. His 69 matches are actually really ahead of my 69,"said Mashrafe.
But Mashrafe’s fight has not been any less difficult. Since his debut in 2001 he has been continuously battling injuries. He became the captain of Bangladesh in 2009 but suffered an injury in his very first Test match as captain. It was not until the England tour in 2010 that he got to lead the ODI side.
Mashrafe was only captaining his second ODI when Bangladesh achieved a historic win. After defeating England in Bristol the Tigers achieved the milestone of defeating all the Test playing nations in ODIs.
From Nov 2014 to the present ODI series against the West Indies, he has won the toss 61 times out of 64 matches as captain. He has only missed playing in three matches during this period.
Mashrafe has said repeatedly that he wants to play until the next World Cup. His captaincy record will be enriched if he does. But he says he is sure that Shakib will take his record to new heights one day.
"Wherever I choose to stop, my record will be broken by a number of people. Shakib will surely lead the side in more matches than me. He has the ability, capability and time. He will set the bar really high for the next person in line. I hope we reach a new standard in our cricket," said Mashrafe.