Ashraful to continue as Bangladesh captain
Mohammad Ashraful will continue as Bangladesh's captain until the conclusion of the tour of West Indies in July-August. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) directors decided to retain Ashraful despite his poor form but identified Mashrafe Mortaza, the vice-captain, and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim as prospective leaders.
"The selection of captain and vice-captain was an important issue in the meeting and after a discussion the board decided to continue with [Mohammad] Ashraful and Mashrafe [Mortaza] as captain and vice-captain until the next tour of West Indies in July-August," BCB's media committee chairman Jalal Yunus told the Daily Star. The pressure to sack Ashraful has been growing, with the captain having failed with the bat. The team, however, has been able to challenge higher-ranked teams, beating Sri Lanka and New Zealand in ODIs in the past year, but their inconsistent performances prevented them from gaining series wins.
"We also considered Mashrafe, in terms of seniority, and Mushfiqur Rahim, for his maturity, as prospective candidates for the captaincy. Both are captaining their respective club sides in the Dhaka Premier League this season, but the board wants to give them more time to grow in the role. Their captaincy in the Premier League will be monitored and observed by the board."
The board was cautious over giving more responsibility to Shakib Al Hasan, who has been the team's most consistent performer in recent months, rising to No. 1 in the ICC ranking for ODI allrounders. "He [Shakib] is now in good touch and it would not be wise to disturb him anyway," Yunus said. "We don't want to give him any additional burden."
Jamie Siddons, the team coach, made a presentation to the board, and assured the directors that the work on Ashraful, Tamim Iqbal and Junaid Siddique will show consistent results soon. "One of the key features of the presentation was Shakib's transformation with the bat over the last year," Yunus said. "The coach showed us Shakib's backlift when he [Siddons] first came in and his present state which is more technically correct and allows him to play shots more comfortably and freely."
Ashraful, who took charge in June 2007, was pleased the board had backed him. Before the Caribbean visit, the team plays five ODIs and two Twenty20s against Pakistan in March followed by the ICC World Twenty20 in England in June. "I'm really happy that the board kept their faith in me," he said. "But I have to perform as a batsman first and I believe that I will get the result of my hard work very soon."
The board said a decision on players' contracts and salary is under process and is expected to be completed in a month. The board will also set up a welfare trust with an initial deposit of Taka 36 lakh. The beneficiaries would include current and former players, scorers and umpires, organisers and BCB staff members. The proceeds from the ticket sales of the first game between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, amounting to seven lakh Takas, will handed over to Manjural Islam's family. The match was a benefit game for Manjural, who died in an accident in 2007.