Najmul Hossain Shanto named Bangladesh captain in all formats

Shanto has been handed the reins for a year, BCB president Nazmul Hassan said

Mohammad Isam
Najmul Hossain Shanto will lead Bangladesh in all three formats  Getty Images

Najmul Hossain Shanto has been appointed as Bangladesh's captain in all three formats. Shanto has been handed the reins for a year, according to BCB president Nazmul Hassan. The news comes as a surprise at least in the T20I format, in which Shakib Al Hasan was set to lead till the upcoming T20 World Cup in June.

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Shanto led impressively in the recent Tests against New Zealand, and also later during a white-ball tour of New Zealand. Shanto's appointment marks a shift in the BCB's policy to give some of the younger cricketers a permanent leadership role. Shakib, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim are still an active part of the international sides, but Shanto's promotion as the 12-month captain means that the board is prepared to move on from the vaunted seniors.

BCB chief Hassan said that they considered Shakib as their No. 1 choice for captaincy in all formats, but the board went ahead with Shanto for the role after Shakib informed them of a condition in his eye. Hassan said that they couldn't any wait longer to make a decision on the leadership.

"We have elected (Najmul Hossain) Shanto as captain in all three formats," Hassan told a packed press conference following a board meeting in Mirpur on Monday. "We discussed the national team captaincy for the longest time in this meeting. We spoke to Shakib, who told us that his eye problem hasn't gone away. We are not sure of his availability in the Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe home series. We also have to consider the T20 World Cup that's coming up.

"Shakib is definitely our first choice. But we don't want to stay in any uncertainty. We didn't want to delay the decision. We had the World Cup in mind so to run the team smoothly, we had to pick a captain."

Shakib had announced before the World Cup last year that he would give up the ODI captaincy after the 50-over marquee event. He had also hinted that he was unlikely to continue in Tests but expressed his interest in leading the side during the T20 World Cup. Shakib had built an impressive T20 side in the last 12 months, notably winning against England.

Shanto takes over a side that will face Sri Lanka in three T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests in March and April this year at home. Bangladesh are also likely to play five T20Is against Zimbabwe, also at home, before embarking on the World Cup in West Indies and USA in June.

Gazi Ashraf new chief selector

The BCB also named former Bangladesh captain Gazi Ashraf Hossain as the new chief selector of the senior men's side. He will begin his job officially from March 1. Ashraf is a former BCB director, who was in charge of the BPL in its nascent days.

Another former player, Hannan Sarkar, was also appointed in the selection panel. He was a junior selector for a number of years.

"When we made a shortlist, he seemed the best choice. We waited for him to agree on our offer. There wasn't much debate about it. When he agreed with us, we were unanimous with our decision too," BCB president Hassan said.

Only Abdur Razzak survives from the previous panel after the board decided not to renew the contracts of Minhajul Abedin, whose eight-year reign as chief selector ends. Former captain Habibul Bashar, too, exits as a selector.

Abedin, the former Bangladesh captain, became the chief selector when Faruque Ahmed quit the role in 2016. He was regularly criticised for allowing the policy of BCB chief Hassan and some of the influential board directors to meddle in selection matters. After retiring from cricket in 2010, Bashar became a national selector in 2011. Abedin also joined at the same time. Bashar was briefly the women's team selector, before returning to the men's selection panel in 2016.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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