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September 9, 2011
Former Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons has come out in support of Shakib Al Hasan, the recently-sacked national captain. Shakib, Siddons said, has the 'perfect credentials' for a captain, but lacked the support required to lead the team.
"He [Shakib] is the only person to lead the side," Siddons, who now coaches Wellington in New Zealand, told Bangladesh newspaper, the Independent. "A captain must be consulted on everything regarding the team and must be listened to when he speaks or raises an issue. This does not happen with Shakib or any other captain at present. He is a great thinker, and is also the team's best and most-respected player, perfect credentials for a captain."
Shakib and his deputy Tamim Iqbal were axed earlier this week following Bangladesh's poor performance during last month's tour of Zimbabwe, with indiscipline being cited as one of the reasons for their removal. Shakib has always had strained relations with the board, having questioned team-selection more than once. Current Bangladesh coach Stuart Law had expressed surprise at Shakib's removal and said he had the respect of his players.
Siddons had coached Bangladesh between October 2007 and April 2010, and moved to the Wellington job after his contract was not renewed following a disappointing World Cup and home series against Australia. Siddons and Shakib worked together in the capacity of coach and captain for close to two years, barring brief spells when Mashrafe Mortaza took charge.
The selectors have not named a new captain, triggering speculation about who could be ready to take over. Mushfiqur Rahim, who has played 24 Tests and 98 ODIs, and is one of the few players who is a regular part of the national XI, is tipped as a frontrunner for the job. Siddons, though, said he did not think the players were eager for the post. "Not one other player in the side apart from maybe Ash [Mohammad Ashraful] is willing to take it [captaincy] on. They know there is no support around them and they will be blamed for any results."
Siddons also said he did not understand the need to have a selector or observer in the dressing-room during matches. During the tour of Zimbabwe, Siddon's successor Stuart Law had reportedly expressed displeasure over selector Habibul Bashar and 'tour observer' Shafiqur Rahman Munna's presence in the dressing room.
"I believe a selector should be allowed to visit the dressing-room and sit in there to discuss or chat at times, but should not make it his home during a game," Siddons said. "I have never understood the reasoning behind having an observer with the team, and especially not in the [dressing] room. This is a blatant mistrust of the coach and players, and is never a positive."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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