Shakib leads skipper race

BCB president Nazmul Hassan has installed Shakib-al-Hasan as the favourite to succeed Mashrafe Mortaza as Bangladesh skipper in the game’s shortest format.

Mashrafe recently announced his retirement from T20Is but will continue to lead the team in ODIs having succeeded current Test skipper Mushfiqur Rahim in both roles.

Shakib will have to wait until the BCB’s board of directors ratifies the decision but with the backing of the president this seems like a formality.

Hassan told reporters in Bangladesh: “Shakib is the most likely candidate to take the T20 captaincy.

“We always had five candidates. Since Mashrafe and Mushfiqur are already captains, we only had Tamim, Mahmudullah and Shakib as the remaining ones. Shakib’s mental attitude and performance shows that he has matured, and is a full grown-up. He is ahead of the other candidates.”

Hassan has given Mashrafe assurances that he will be allowed to lead the ODI squad for as long as he wants to perform the role.

The president went on: “There’s no chance of changing the ODI captaincy. One year ago we thought the Champions Trophy will be his last tournament, but now it seems he can play more.

“He will play as long as he is fit. There’s no chance for him to be out of the squad. It is a different issue if the captain or coach thinks someone can play in his place.”

The BCB president has made it known publicly that he can and will override the decisions of the selection panel but has spoken to senior players to assure them their places in the team are safe.

Hassan added:  “On the eve of the first T20, I spoke to Tamim, Shakib, Mushfiqur and Mashrafe. I told them that nobody can drop you given how much you’ve contributed to the team. At least until I am around. You have to make your own exit plan. If you play badly for a game or two, or even for a year, you won’t be dropped. Except disciplinary issues, you won’t be dropped for performance.

“Who would drop Shakib? Tamim has been one of our best batsmen. Mushfiqur is our batting pillar. He is like our Rahul Dravid. Who would drop them? No question about it.

“Mashrafe is beyond performance. He doesn’t have to bat or bowl well. He has a lot of something different. It is hard to find another Mashrafe. His leadership quality, and his love for team and the country is a rare quality. I am not saying others don’t have it but his is of a different level.”