Bangladesh news September 8, 2011

Law says Shakib had players' support

Stuart Law, the Bangladesh coach, has said he was surprised by the removal of Shakib Al Hasan as Bangladesh captain. Law, who joined the team in late July, has had a tumultuous start to his tenure with Bangladesh losing the one-off Test and the ODI series in Zimbabwe last month. Law said he was not consulted about the decision to sack Shakib and vice-captain Tamim Iqbal and that it had been taken not just based on the on-field performance of the team in Zimbabwe.

"It was a surprise," he said. "The cricket board has made a decision so we have got to run with it. I was not [consulted] but I was on leave, so I was not contactable at the time. The board has made a decision not just based on events in Zimbabwe but, from what I understand, some other ongoing situations."

The BCB had said there had been reports of indiscipline surrounding Shakib and Tamim which had been part of the reason for their removal. Shakib had always had an uneasy relationship with the board and selectors, having initially refused the captaincy and later questioned team selection more than once. Law, however, said Shakib and Tamim had the support of their team-mates. "I've observed that the Bangladesh dressing-room is no different than any other I've been involved in. Captain and vice-captain are basically the leaders of the group. They have the respect of the players and they dish out their respect as well.

"What you guys have been told and what is being reported is far from the truth about what's going on inside the dressing room. From what I've seen, they are a very disciplined bunch of boys. They enjoy a good time and they're allowed to. We're dealing with very young men in that dressing room and they should be given their chance to grow up."

Law also said the performance in Zimbabwe did have positives, since Bangladesh won the last two ODIs, and previously uncapped players Nasir Hossain and Shuvagoto Hom both impressed.

"While we didn't perform well in Zimbabwe, it steadily improved. We unearthed two youngsters who came in and did a great job. There's a lot of positive things that came out. The feeling has definitely been good."

Bangladesh have not named a new captain yet, and Law believes it could be any one of "six people". He said whoever the captain was would have the full support of the team and would find having Shakib around to be an advantage. "Cricket teams run themselves. It is the captain who makes the decisions but very rarely will he make it by himself. He'll consult his players out there. It is great to have a guy like Shakib in your locker for advice in the field. That's going to be a positive."

Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka