‘Shakib was the obvious choice’
There was no surprise as Shakib Al Hasan was named the ODI captain for the upcoming Asia Cup and World Cup yesterday, the only surprise was how it was announced.
Ending all speculation, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan announced the name of the ODI captain under unconventional circumstances. Consequently, a large part of the media was left in the dark for some time about whether the unofficial press conference, which appeared to have taken place on Friday at the board president's garage, had actually taken place.
Later it was revealed that a few of the media houses have been able to eke out the information from board president on Friday afternoon. Some of the BCB officials too were perplexed when asked about the development during that time.
As things stand, Shakib is the captain of all three formats for Bangladesh and will lead the Tigers in the World Cup, even though Hassan clarified that discussions have not been extensive. The BCB president argued that, most importantly as a senior star, it was Shakib's ability to cope with pressure that made him pick the all-rounder as captain.
"Shakib Al Hasan will captain in both Asia Cup and World Cup. But we haven't discussed long-term plans regarding captaincy with Shakib. When he returns to the country, we will do that. We need to know our long-term and his plans as well. Actually, captaining in three formats will put a burden on him too," Hassan said yesterday, suggesting that they would discuss Shakib's T20I and Test captaincy once the all-rounder returns from his Lanka Premier League stint.
The BCB president reiterated that they will discuss the options on whether he wants to stay captain in all three formats, whether he wants to be at the helm long-term or short term, or whether he wants to drop captaincy of one format and focus on the other two.
This would be Shakib's second stint as skipper, having served as captain previously between 2009 to 2011. He has also served sporadically since that period, captaining in three games, the last of which came in 2017 against Ireland.
Hassan argued that they were in a precarious spot after Tamim Iqbal stepped down on August 3.
"Before the Asia Cup and World Cup, with so little time left, I felt Shakib was the obvious choice.
"I have heard that many are saying that there was a lack of planning or whatever. What plan could we make? Who will retire when and then come back, can anyone make plans on that beforehand?"
Given that the World Cup is an enormous event, the board did not see any other option bar Shakib.
"World Cup pressure is not the same as pressure of a bilateral series. There is no one else apart from Shakib to take that pressure," he added.
Hassan felt positive that despite his earlier reservation, Shakib was serious about the objectives coming up.
"There's no doubt about his potential. One thing I feel very good about, in recent times... watching over the last one year... is that I had doubts about Shakib. It's my personal opinion, as to how serious he is and what game he will play or not play... Now I see there is none more serious than him about cricket."