Mahmudullah hired for third T20I!

Mahmudullah Riyad practice in Edgbaston ahead Bangladesh vs India match
Bangladesh’s experienced batsman Mahmudullah Riyad (L) looks set to play in the crucial World Cup match against India after recovering well from a calf injury. Photo: BCB

T20I skipper for just a series, Nurul Hasan Sohan's injury triggered chaos and exposed the lack of clarity in the decision-making of the Bangladesh national team's think tank once again.

Mosaddek Hossain, who got a fifer on Sunday during the second T20I against Zimbabwe, was named the captain for the third T20I and surprisingly, Mahmudullah Riyad, who had been replaced as captain by Sohan, returned to the squad for the third T20I today despite Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) previously insisting that youngsters would be tried for the Zimbabwe series.

Riyad's form with the bat had been a major concern ahead of the series. And the team management decided to rest the 36-year-old while the board worked out a new direction for the T20 side. If Riyad's form was a concern, why has the BCB now included him without any evidence of his form improving? Was it just to mitigate a disaster?

If this was about taking the T20I side to a new direction, what was the point of bringing in a player who has been part of the leadership?
It was learned that Riyad, who is in Zimbabwe with the ODI squad, was not initially onboard with the idea of him being included in the side. The BCB felt that Riyad's inclusion would help the side greatly in the final T20I which is a series-decider.

Given there was a dearth of middle-order batters in the squad, Riyad eventually decided to harken to the BCB' call. While giving an opportunity to uncapped Parvez Hossain Emon would have been in line with BCB's aim to take things in a new direction with youngsters, it appears that calling back Riyad just as a player was done to relay a message to everyone -- that he has been hired in times of crisis.
Asked about the team management's plans going forward with a new group, team director Khaled Mahmud Sujon said that they still feel that a new batch of cricketers would have to make up the T20I outfit.

"This T20 World Cup should not be in our immediate focus if we are thinking of a long-term plan to build a team in the next two years. The way we are playing T20s, there is not much we can hope to gain from the previous generation. When we talked about fearless cricket, that fearless approach has to come from every player in the side," Mahmud told The Daily Star yesterday.

When the question of why Riyad was sought out as a replacement was asked, a portion of the blame was shifted to the selectors.

"Unfortunately, there are five openers in the team announced. There was no contingency plan for the middle-order and that's why Riyad wasn't prepared. To overcome the crisis, Riyad later agreed to our proposal for the greater interest of the team," Mahmud said.

"On the other hand, we haven't excluded Riyad completely as a player. Still, he has a chance to continue with the team. Regarding his captaincy, it is no secret that we are thinking of a new captain."

The BCB had previously skirted around the question of who was going to be the permanent skipper in T20Is, having appointed Nurul as captain for just a series. The air regarding Riyad's captaincy had not cleared even after Nurul was made captain but with Riyad now returning without the responsibility, it appears his stint as a captain has unceremoniously ended.