Big changes in the offing
The Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) is in full swing but two off-field issues have taken some sheen off the 'cricketainment'. The final outcome after head coach Chandika Hathurusingha's resignation has been the primary source of speculation in recent times, and to that has been added the discussion over whether the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)'s decision of allowing a maximum of two NOCs (no-objection certificates) per year to contracted players for overseas competitions is a wise one or not.
Apparently the BCB is all set to move forward with the new plan, although they will make a last-ditch effort when Hathurusingha visits from Sri Lanka within the next few days primarily to complete all the official formalities to clear his path to becoming the new coach of Sri Lanka.
Time will only tell whether the 49-year old will make a U-turn to comply with the BCB's request of serving at least for the next home series against Sri Lanka in January next year, but the board is going to receive a comprehensive report from the Sri Lankan regarding the South Africa debacle, the reason behind his resignation and some recommendations about what the board needs to do on the domestic front.
There is a good chance that BCB will take some bold actions in line with his report and a close source informed that Mushfiqur Rahim may not be Test captain from the next home series against Sri Lanka and there is a good chance that current T20I skipper Shakib Al Hasan will become Test captain. It is not unlikely that the announcement regarding stepping down from the Test captaincy will come from Mushfiqur himself.
Although the BCB was sympathetic to Hathurusingha's emotional decision, they were not interested in showing any mercy to Mushfiqur following his media outburst during the South Africa tour.
The immediate issue the board must solve, however, is recruiting a local coach if Hathurusingha sticks to his decision. There are many names of probably local candidates already doing the rounds. Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza stressed on a need for a quick adjustment.
"It's not clear whether there will be a local coach or not. So far Hathurusingha's departure is not confirmed and he is expected to come to Bangladesh. If he stays on after the meeting… Alhamduliliah; and if not the BCB will take the decision," said Mashrafe while talking to reporters yesterday in an anti-drug campaign programme.
"When there is a change you have to accept it as fast as possible. Of course, having played under Hathurusingha for the last three years we know his plans by heart. At the same time, if he does not stay it will be our duty, and also the duty of the new coach to adjust as quickly as possible. If you look at the World Cup, it's not far away, plus there are a lot of overseas tours in 2018. They will also be very important for us. There will be a mental change, but it's not that the effect will be negative; we have to adjust to it as fast as possible," he added.
Mashrafe talked about Sarwar Imran and Khaled Mahmud's previous experiences with the national side as coach; the latter has a bright chance of getting the job but the question will be whether the former national captain-turned BCB director will get it for the long term as per his desire, or a makeshift role.