Mortaza has picked up just one wicket this World Cup Getty

Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes has said that the decision to retire or not is left up to captain Mashrafe Mortaza, and that the Bangladesh public should spare him the constant criticism. Mortaza, who had previously announced that he would retire after the 2019 World Cup, has endured a tough campaign, picking up just one wicket. During the course of the tournament, he did a U-turn on his retirement plans and has been under fire from the media and fans on social media since.

While Mortaza recently said that he wanted to play beyond the World Cup, Cricbuzz understands that he had sat down with four senior cricketers - Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah - after they lost to India, and discussed his retirement plan.

"Mashrafe [Mortaza] will decide [for] himself with the board, and I think that everybody ought to leave that up to them, and I think whilst it's a great story for the media, let's pay a little respect and let him organise whether he does or he doesn't [want to retire]," Rhodes said.

Though there has been a lot of focus surrounding Mortaza's retirement, Rhodes said it hasn't taken a toll on the team and reckoned the players were now used to getting a lot of unsolicited attention.

"If it affects the team? No. The team is now used to a huge press following, lots of media hype, social media. They're used to headlines now. So that's not really going to affect them too much," Rhodes said.

Even as some fans are turning on the long-serving captain, Rhodes revealed that 'warrior' Mortaza still had the respect of his teammates.

"The one thing about Mashrafe with the players is that they respect him incredibly. I often use the word warrior ... he goes to war for the team, and people respect that. The players in the dressing room love Mash, and he has said it's his last World Cup, and it will be emotional for him,'' Rhodes said.

Rhodes added that if Mortaza isn't available for the proposed tour of Sri Lanka next month then they have to move on, even as the captain will leave behind a massive void.

"If he's [Mortaza] not in Sri Lanka, then we move on. Bangladesh has to move on eventually without Mash, and whether it's after this tournament or whether it's in a year's time, at some stage Bangladesh has to move on, like all the great countries in international cricket. It's not always easy. It can be a difficult void to fill, but that's what I was meaning when I said we move on," Rhodes concluded.