COLOMBO: Bangladesh's limited-overs captain Mashrafe Mortaza announced on Tuesday that he is going to retire from the T20I format after completing the ongoing two-match series against Sri Lanka.
Mashrafe's decision came just before the first match of the series against the home side in Colombo's R. Premadasa Stadium.
"It has been a great honour for me to represent Bangladesh in T20I for more than 10 years," Mashrafe said on his official Facebook page. "I believe that this team is currently a balanced one and there are some promising young stars.
"This is high time for me to say good-bye to T20 format so that many youngsters can get the opportunity to showcase their talent", he said.
Mashrafe made his T20I debut against Zimbabwe in 2006, the first ever game played by the South Asian country in the shortest format, and has been an integral part of the side ever since.
Beloved by fans, the 33-year-old played 52 T20I to claim 39 wickets and score 368 runs.
He led Bangladesh in 27 of his 52 Twenty20 internationals and won nine matches.
But he was hobbled by knee injuries during much of his career, forcing him to avoid Test cricket since 2009 and to undergo a series of operations in Australia.
Bangladesh selectors welcomed his decision to retire from T20 international cricket. "Mashrafe is a true legend of our game and he has made the right decision," Bangladesh's chief selector Minhajul Abedin told AFP by phone.
He will play his final T20I international against Sri Lanka on April 6 in Colombo, but is expected to continue to lead the side in the 50-over format.