Shakib Al Hasan, who was axed as Bangladesh captain on Monday, has said that though he was surprised by the decision, it wasn't entirely unexpected. Both Shakib and vice-captain Tamim Iqbal were stripped of their leadership posts by the Bangladesh board after the team's defeat in both the Test and the one-day series in Zimbabwe last month.
"I am surprised by the sudden decision but I am not shocked. I can take things easy which is my strength," Shakib told the Dhaka-based newspaper Daily Star. "The board definitely took this decision for betterment of the game, so I must accept it."
Shakib, 25, has been Bangladesh's captain for two years, except for brief spells when the frequently injured fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza took charge. Shakib was named captain for 2011 after leading the side to an impressive 4-0 one-day series win over New Zealand at home and following it up with a victory over Zimbabwe late last year.
It hasn't been a smooth ride for Shakib as captain. In December 2010, soon after he was named full-time captain, he complained that he wasn't prepared for the job and that he was not getting a free hand in selecting the team. He also demanded a long run as captain and didn't want to take over on a "series-by-series" basis as the board wanted him to. He also had a strained relationship with the new selection panel headed by former captain Akram Khan, with Shakib saying he wasn't consulted when the side to tour Zimbabwe was picked, while Akram insisted Shakib was.
The controversies and the loss to Zimbabwe, a team which was making its return to the Test arena after five years, seem to have led to Shakib's sacking. "As a captain I must take the responsibility for the poor showing in Zimbabwe," he said. "But still I believe that we had lack of preparation and that was one of the main reasons behind the debacle."
Shakib said the board needs to investigate the reasons behind the Zimbabwe failure. "You see in our country everywhere we make someone scapegoat for any failure because we don't want to dig deep to find out the real problem and this is no exception," he said. "This is our system. We always try to solve problems casually."
No replacements have yet been named for Shakib and Tamim.