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Tearful Mortaza defends banned bowlers

Bangladesh captain gives emotional defence of Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny after they were suspended

The suspensions of Bangladesh bowling duo Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny on the eve of their must-win World T20 clash against Australia has reportedly driven their captain, Mashrafe Mortaza, to tears.

Speaking at the mandatory pre-match press conference in Bangalore on Sunday, Mortaza was visibly emotional when answering questions about the suspended pair, who 24 hours earlier were found to possess an illegal bowling action and were immediately banned by the International Cricket Council.

Quick Single: Bangladesh duo banned by the ICC

"Taskin and Sunny are very disappointed," said Mortaza, who is reported to have broken down behind closed doors following the press conference.

"Obviously, the whole team is behind them. At the moment it is very difficult to understand what they are going through but the players and the coaching staff are trying to help them out. 

"We can only wish and pray that they will fight it out and come back and play for the team again."

Right-arm paceman Taskin and left-arm spinner Sunny were reported for having a suspect bowling action in their World T20 qualifying match against the Netherlands on March 9 in Dharamshala.

Arafat Sunny gestures after a wicket in November // Getty

The pair were tested in Chennai five days later and were both deemed to bowl with an illegal bowling action, which subsequently saw them banned on Saturday from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect.

Upon receiving the verdict, the Bangladesh Cricket Board, through President Mazmul Hassan, lodged an appeal to the ICC to reconsider the suspension of 20-year-old Taskin.

Taskin's bouncer is the delivery that exceeds the permitted 15-degree elbow extension, according to the Chennai test results, but Mortaza said none of the deliveries he was cited for in the Netherlands match were proved to be illegal. 

The suspensions, particularly Taskin's, have rocked the Bangladesh skipper, who was not afraid of the comments he made defending his young speedster. 

"I am not worried about my career," he said. "Maybe I have said some strong words in the press conference. 

"But, if I am not able to stand beside the youngster (Taskin), who will give service to the Bangladesh team in the next 10-15 years, what is the point of remaining captain then?

"When two of your family members face such kind of trouble, the amount of pain we feel, I am feeling the same for my players now.

"I have seen a lot in life, so it's probably easier for me to accept this.

"But right now, we are talking about one of the most promising young fast bowlers of our country, someone who we think will serve us for the next 10 years.

"At the moment it is very difficult to understand them and tell them that everything will be alright.

"As a group, the coaching staff and players, are helping them cope. All that we can wish and pray is they come out stronger and fight it out and come back and play for Bangladesh."

In Dhaka, Bangladesh cricket fans took to the streets in outrage over the suspensions. 

AFP is reporting "at least 100 people" protested in Dhaka's Shahbagh square, brandishing banners which read "Shame on you ICC. Your action is illegal", while a "symbolic effigy" of the ICC was burned. 

Taskin delivers during last year's World Cup quarter-final // Getty

Despite the mentally and emotionally draining drama, Bangladesh have a game of cricket to play against a hungry Australian side who, like their opponents, must win to keep their World T20 campaign alive.

Preview: Australia brace for do-or-die World T20 clash

But the sadness and "injustice" felt by the Tigers is set to hinder their performance at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium early on Tuesday morning AEDT.

"Firstly, we will go to the field to win a game no matter who the opposition is," Mortaza said. 

"However there is one thing, for example, if two of your sons have some problem and you want to do something you will not be able to do that with the same enthusiasm that you normally would have. 

"This is the situation of the team at the moment. 

"We are not in a good state mentally at the moment which is of course understandable. 

"But we will get to the field with the same spirit that we had in our last game."