The time has come to move on and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has taken the right decision, which is well thought. But who should be the next ODI captain of Bangladesh remains a moot question…..

 

“I didn’t think for too long. Everyone on the outside thought, it is the right time to bring a new captain keeping the 2023 World Cup in mind. I decided this morning that this is enough. Till yesterday, I hadn’t taken this decision. I took a professional decision, so I would hope those who take the decision on the next captain, also take a professional decision. The new captain should be given enough time”.

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza

You know someday an announcement such as this would come. You know very well, he would say that it’s enough. Let’s move on. But still, you start to feel that numbness in your upper and lower extremity when you come to know that one of the greatest sportsmen of your country and perhaps, the most loved and respected sportsman ever to reign in the history of Bangladesh would no longer be seen leading the Tigers.

Automatically, you discover that your eyes are wet.

Your brain fades for a second.

You sit down and try to recover from the temporary shock – get back in reality and accept it.

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For us, who have watched him bowl for the first time at the Dhaka National Stadium, the struggle, pain, and rise of Mashrafe had been intertwined deeply with our daily life. His fighting spirit became an inspiration for many, while his captaincy became a matter of celebration and pride.

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Before the start of the third and final one-day international against Zimbabwe, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza announced in the press conference that will quit as Bangladesh’s ODI captain after the match. The way Bangladesh have fared against the visitors so far, tomorrow, the Tigers might gift Mashrafe his 50th victory as the captain. Even though Mashrafe decided to quit captaincy, but still he did not clarify, how long would he continue as a player, which still makes him available for selection as a player.

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It has been a glorious journey since he took over the responsibility of leading Bangladesh for the second during a period when Bangladesh cricket was in turmoil. Along with the street-smart Chandika Hathurusingha, Mashrafe joined the pieces together and built a unit, which fared very well from 2015 to 2019 – it had been a rosy period, which would always be written in letters of gold in the history of Bangladesh cricket.

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But every sportsman needs to take a decision in his life about when to stop and move on. This morning Mashrafe discovered himself in that zone where each and every sportsman has gone through – should I stop here or should I try to test my will-power a bit more?

Mashrafe chose to stop and it was the right decision. The time has come to leave the platform to the players of the next generation and a new captain, who would be the torchbearer of the fighter from Bangladesh.

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Mashrafe said, “The 2023 World Cup is coming, so we have to plan for it. I think this is the right time for someone to take over. I would hope that they remain strict with their decision, that the captain announced now will be our 2023 captain. It shouldn’t be like the captain gets changed less than a year before the World Cup. It has happened a lot in Bangladesh”.

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He is crystal clear in his opinion and passed the advise to the think-tank of Bangladesh Cricket of what to do and how to plan things for the upcoming days. And it is expected, the boss of Bangladesh Cricket Board would organize things accordingly.

The first challenge for Nazmul Hassan would be to choose the right replacement of Mash – there are quite a few contenders around, but what Bangladesh would require is someone who would be the best performer of the team, possesses a sharp knowledge about the game, bears the courage to take risks and smarter enough to create opportunities according to the demand of the situation, can lead from the front, remains calm under pressure and is a very good man-manager.

One player who comes to mind is none other than Shakib Al Hasan. Undoubtedly he is the number 1 performer of Bangladesh for many years. He is brave and beneath those skull bones lie a brain that is enriched with a sharp knowledge about the game. But one factor, which might not favour his qualification – his whimsical nature and his inability to control his temper.

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And most importantly, the one-year ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) might also halt BCB from choosing Shakib as the skipper.

Normally, a player, who has served such bans from ICC is not considered to lead further.

If you ask me, I would vote for Shakib as the next skipper of Bangladesh’s 50-over side.

But this is my personal and I am not a part of BCB think-tank.

Also, I need to accept the reality.

Shakib’s whims and temper might let BCB find another option and the available choices are – Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad. And, if BCB are thinking of taking a risk and plan for long term like Cricket South Africa of 2003, then Mehidy Hasan Miraz could be an option – but in a country where patience is less and emotions run high, Miraz might not be able to sustain longer.

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So, other than Shakib, the choice should be either between Tamim, Mushfiq or Mahmudullah.

If you ask me, then I would cast my vote for Mahmudullah.

In my opinion, he offers a lot of composure and thinks about the game deeply. He is someone who seems confident about his moves on the field and soaks up the pressure no matter how tough the situation is. The more the pressure, the more Mahmudullah fares better and he has been proving this since he made his debut in white and colour clothes. Above all, his composure could help him to be a very good man-manger.

With Tamim Iqbal trying to regain his lost mojo and Mushfiq enjoying his new freedom – I can’t see a better option than Mahmudullah to lead the Tigers in 50-over format only if BCB does not consider Shakib as the next option.

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