In this section, we give alternate endings to memorable moments in sports and imagine how it would have impacted the present.
A charismatic personality on and off the field and the team's talisman for almost two decades, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza is now in the twilight of his career. His career has been hampered by continuous injuries and he has undergone as many as seven surgeries on his knees and ankles. Mortaza is barely able to run without a grimace, always seen wearing a brace to hold up his creaking knees. Despite all his shortcomings, he is currently the highest wicket taker among active cricketers with 270 scalps.
But what would happen if Mashrafe never got injured?
Bangladesh go beyond group stage in the 2011 World Cup
Before the 2011 World Cup at home, Mashrafe got injured. But he went through rehabilitation and was eighty-percent fit at the time of squad announcement. He was likely to gain full fitness before the commencement of the tournament. But to everyone's utter surprise, he was left out of the squad for the World Cup. With no Mashrafe in the side, the relatively inexperienced seam attack struggled to deliver against big teams like India and South Africa. If Mashrafe was not injured, he would surely lead the seam attack in the tournament. And with a senior pro like Mashrafe around, the young pacers wouldn't have to take the extra pressure. Being an inspirational character, Mashrafe would have been able to bring more stability in the team and the team could have done better in the World Cup.
Bangladesh fare better in Test matches overseas
With 78 wickets from 32 Tests, Mashrafe is still the most successful Bangladeshi fast bowler in the longest form of the game. His bowling average of 41 was decent from Bangladesh's perspective, with the second best being Shahadat Hossain's 51 (minimum 15 matches). Mashrafe has been a natural outswing bowler. But he had mastered the inswinger before taking an indefinite exemption from Test cricket due to injuries. India's Wasim Jaffer getting out to Mashrafe while shouldering arms and losing his off stump remains the highlight of Mashrafe's Test career. With the ability to move the ball both ways, Mashrafe would have been the premier weapon in Test matches in seaming conditions like England, New Zealand and South Africa. Bangladesh could've done much better overseas in the longest format with a fit Mashrafe leading the bowling attack.
Mashrafe leads Bangladesh to more and more victories
Mashrafe was made captain for the first time in the 2009 Caribbean tour. But he had to return midway due to a serious injury that forced him to take an indefinite break from Test cricket. It took almost five years to reappoint Mashrafe as captain as he was in and out of the side due to injuries. If he didn't get injured so frequently, he would serve the team for more time as a captain and as a player. Known for being a natural leader and a great man-manager, he could've taken Bangladesh cricket to the next level much earlier. His captaincy records are better than the likes of Mohammad Azharuddin, Arjuna Ranatunga, Stephen Fleming, Kane Williamson and Misbah-Ul-Haq in terms of win percentage. But sadly he could lead Bangladesh in only 88 ODIs and one Test which left a lot to be desired.