I refused ICL's offer: Mortaza

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/m/mortaza.jpg' class='caption'> Mashrafe Mortaza has claimed that he too was approached by the ICL but unlike 13 of his compatriots, he was not swayed by the big money on offer.

Updated: September 28, 2008 09:30 IST
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Bangladesh vice-captain Mashrafe Mortaza has claimed that he too was approached by the Indian Cricket League but unlike 13 of his compatriots, who ended up joining the rebel series, he was not swayed by the big money on offer.

"Obviously money is very important. I play for the money too but my priority is playing for Bangladesh," Mortaza said.

"I did receive an offer. I had received a few phone calls from India before going to Australia to join the ICL and build a team but I refused the offer straightaway. That was the end of it for me," he added.

Bangladesh is struggling to build a playing XI after 13 players, including former captain Habibul Bashar, joined the rebel league citing frustration with the system.

Mortaza said it was futile to keep harping about how the rebellion has hurt Bangladesh cricket and asserted that the team was capable of bouncing back.

"That's their decision. Personally I don't see any point in mulling over those who are not here. We got to move forward with what we have and I think we have some pretty good players who have come in and they all want to do well," he said.

"...we have to look at this in a positive way. If I am out of the team then there will be someone taking my place and that's reality. Who knows some of those players might have been injured and that wouldn't have stopped us from picking a team," Mortaza added.

Bangladesh take on New Zealand at home and Mortaza feels his team stands a decent chance despite the ICL setback.

"I firmly believe that we are going to do well. That is a gut feeling. Also the wickets here will be easier to bat on for us and I just have this intuition that we will perform much better than we did in Australia," he said.

On his nagging knee injury for which he might be operated upon, Mortaza said, "I went to Melbourne too see Dr. David Young. He checked my knees and told me that there weren't problems with the ligaments. That was a big relief as I was obviously a bit tense when I felt pain there.

"He in fact was very surprised that I hadn't missed a game due to my knees during the last five years and said that he had expected me earlier! It is up to me to decide when I should have that minor surgery because I will need 6-8 weeks off from the game," he added.

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