Bangladesh in England 2010 June 28, 2010

Mortaza replaces Shakib as Bangladesh captain


Mashrafe Mortaza, the Bangladesh allrounder, has been named captain of the squad for the ODI tour of the United Kingdom in place of Shakib Al Hasan, who will be the squad's vice-captain.

The surprise move was announced in a BCB press release on the eve of the team's departure from Dhaka, two days after the squad for the tour had been released, and comes as a significant snub to Shakib, who led the team with determination during an arduous Test series against England last month.

"Mashrafe was our captain during the West Indies series. But then he suffered injuries. So we are now bringing him back to his former position," Enayat Hossain Siraj, a Bangladesh board official, told AFP.

Khaled Mahmud, the assistant coach and former national captain, admitted he was surprised by the decision, but told Cricinfo that Mashrafe, who was Shakib's immediate predecessor, had always been in contention to reclaim the captaincy, assuming he was able to prove his fitness following his rehabilitation from knee surgery. His first tenure lasted just 6.3 overs before he collapsed mid-over during Bangladesh's famous victory at Kingstown last July.

"Before Shakib became captain, the selectors always said that if Mashrafe could get fit, he might be able to take the job again," said Mahmud. "I'm not sure if it's the right or wrong move, but it's been a tough time for Shakib, whose recent performances, particularly with the bat, have not been up to standard. It's important for Bangladesh that he performs well, and perhaps the pressure of the captaincy is too much. He's still young, while Mashrafe is more mature."

Shakib, 23, was recently ranked as the leading allrounder in international cricket, and he was Bangladesh's leading wicket-taker in the course of their four Tests against England, claiming 17 scalps with his left-arm spin at 36.94. However, his batting fell away badly both in England and at the subsequent Asia Cup, with few glimpses of the ability he had showcased in making his maiden Test century against New Zealand earlier this year.

Nevertheless, the timing of the handover is not ideal, especially given that Shakib and Mashrafe had a falling-out during England's ODI series in Bangladesh back in March. Mashrafe went wicketless during his comeback match at Dhaka, before walking out on the squad ahead of the second ODI - apparently to be by the side of his ailing mother, but in reality because he was about to be dropped.

"The way Mashrafe bowled before his injury, that Mashrafe we might have missed tonight," said Shakib, in the aftermath of a narrow two-wicket defeat in the second match. "But the way he bowled in the last match and the practice match, not really. He needs some time to get back to full confidence and rhythm. He needs to play some games and get match-fit again."

Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, had also made a blunt assessment of Mortaza's form during the recently-concluded Asia Cup. Mortaza took only two wickets at an average of 77.00 and an economy-rate of 8.25 in three matches. "He's going to have to improve a lot on his current form," Siddons had said. "Unfortunately there's no ready replacement for Mashrafe at the moment, we're hoping his experience will pull him through. We'll keep looking for others and if Mash can't stand up we'll have to replace him."

Assuming he is back to full fitness, Mortaza will doubtless be an asset during a one-day tour that comprises three matches against England, two against Ireland and one against Scotland. With 137 ODI wickets in 107 appearances, he is Bangladesh's most prolific strike bowler, and his familiarity with English conditions should enable him to utilise any swing and seam on offer.

However, as Mortaza himself said back in February, the prospect of him walking straight back into the team and taking over the leadership is an awkward one - especially if he is not considered fit enough for Test cricket. "I'd like to give this opportunity to Shakib because he's doing well so far, and I'd like to play in his team," he told Cricinfo during his comeback match. "But also, I'm not playing both forms of cricket right now - I'm only looking to one-day cricket - and if I don't do both, then the captaincy and the relationship with the team is difficult."

Squad Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan (vc), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Raqibul Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Faisal Hossain, Jahurul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Nazmul Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Syed Rasel.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2010, 16:49 GMT

    This was a poor and thoughtless decision by BCB, what else is new. Once Sakib joins county(Worcestershire) cricket I hope he gets his citizenship changed to England and join there team. Too quick and too stupid a move!!

  • Dummy4 on July 4, 2010, 4:07 GMT

    India won there 25 th test match and there record for 25 test are 1 win 12 draws and 12 losses . Bangladesh took 36 test to win a test match and record is 1win 4 draws and 31 losses.but i am not saying that Bangladesh record is worse than India because it is not fair to compare the records of different decades .

  • gohar on July 3, 2010, 16:07 GMT

    LOL.............Bangladesh have lost to sussex county with huge margin, now this is pathetic and than these bangalis keep on saying that we r improving, this was not even sussex A team, they rested some of there key players...........i am sure ireland and afghanistan can play much better than bangladesh

  • nauroze on July 3, 2010, 15:46 GMT

    guys can we all have peace here. India took 20 years to win a test match. Agreed. But the technologies of the times play a vital role. Bangladesh have VIDEO ACCESS which was not present at that time. Still Bangladesh are a respectable team and are showing signs of challenging the major teams. But the Indian position on the test ranking is justified and lets not argue about it. for the mean time we I hope that Mortaza proves to be a more lucky captain than Shakib because only luck is not on Bangladesh's side.

  • Jubayer on July 3, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    Dear Abhi_Pro, Unfortunately, you have showed the same taste which your Media posses, Overrating of your heroes, and then Sorrow of Lost and then nothing special which can India Make No. 01. We are learning, and we people of BD know very well that, the time you took to rise as a standard team, we'd take much more less period to shine. And i am sorry to say that, you could be a better team, but could not be No. 1 team always as because of your such mentality.

  • NAWSAD on July 2, 2010, 9:49 GMT

    @abhipro nd so on...after getting test status on 1932 india had to wait to 20 yrs to win a test.y ru saying now bd cfant play blah we can say that 20 yrs ind were worst than bd.plz raise ur voice after 20yrs(trust me we wud do better b4 that).

  • Abhishek on July 2, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    @Bang_La - The record isn't broken mate, not just yet. Its gonna continue for a few more seasons atleast. And then, as the middle order calls it a day, there will be the inevitable period of transition which Australia had to face as well. Sehwag, Gambhir and Dhoni will be there to guide the transition. The probables are so numerous that I can only mention a few here. Rohit, Virat, Raina, Pandey, Saurabh Tiwary, Manoj Tiwary, Pujara, the list goes on and on. But that is because India still has a decent first class structure which, for all its limitations, produces Test class cricketers regularly. But Bangladesh wouldn't know much about a first class system, eh? Set that in order first and then dream of competing at Test level. End of story. Ciao.

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2010, 23:49 GMT

    i don't know why BCCB bring mashrafe as a captain instead of sakib i really don't get it.i don't see any difference between pakistani cricket board and bccb.get a life bccb !!!

  • Kaz on July 1, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    Why is everyone saying that Mash being captain is bad when they havent even seen him captaining bangladesh. This is a good move Shakib as captain tryed to make it all about himself when they were bowling, his field placemants were poor and he underused mahmudullah big time. Take a look at the last test with England they should have got Bell out for a golden duck but he didnt use the right field placement and he ended up getting over 100, he also seems to go to a defensive field setting all the time when they need to be attacking. In my opinion mahmud would now be able to show how good he is under Mash, reckon he would bowl more overs and be moved up to no 4. Mahmud is probley as good an allrounder as Shakib and this could be why shakib underused him so much, he always seem to stick with left arm spin of razzak rather than mahmud. Shakib going to worcestershire would be good to improve his game and pick up how to be a good captain from their as he is still likely to be test captain.

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2010, 2:48 GMT

    bcb is really out of their way to bring mash as a captain replacing might cause some serious damages to the team...

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