Time of the essence as BCB defers captaincy call
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) convened an emergency board meeting yesterday to discuss the ODI captaincy. Although the assumption was that the captain was going to be announced on the day, eventually the BCB decided to defer the decision.
It was decided in the meeting that BCB president Nazmul Hassan has been given the responsibility to hold talks with potential candidates over the captaincy role.
Shakib Al Hasan, already the Test and T20I captain of Bangladesh, is still in pole position to be selected for the role. According to BCB sources, however, the board are concerned over the fact that giving captaincy of all three formats to Shakib may turn out to be a bit of a burden for the player, especially with the Asia Cup and World Cup looming.
"We have options, it isn't like we don't have options but we want to know what the board directors are thinking," a BCB source said on conditions of anonymity.
BCB cricket operations chairman Jalal Yunus came to address the media following the meeting and talked about probable candidates.
"As you know, Shakib is there, Liton [Das] too, and we have the promising Miraz. We will hold talks with them," Jalal told the media yesterday.
It could not be ascertained whether talks have gone on with Shakib. It is, however, irregular that no major decision was taken following an EGM. Even yesterday, BCB officials had suggested that they would reach a decision on Tuesday.
The cut-out date for the Asia Cup squad is August 12 and the board would have to announce the captain and the squad by then. The BCB wants to learn where Shakib stands in terms of captaining the ODI side and the duration he would take over the reins for.
A few of the BCB directors remained unsure of Shakib's preference. The all-rounder has various kinds of obligations that keeps him busy. Shakib has commercial obligations while franchise cricket still has an allure for the all-rounder. Logistically, captaining the side in three formats is a difficulty given his family resides in the USA.
The BCB wants to appoint a captain for the Asia Cup, the New Zealand home ODI series and the ODI World Cup in India. They want to know what Shakib's preference is before moving forward with the captaincy choice.
The board directors during the EGM voiced their opinions regarding who they find suitable for the job. Given Shakib's experience, Shakib was the preferred option for the majority.
The concern is whether Shakib sees himself captaining in all three formats following the World Cup since the BCB prefer a more long-term solution. However, time is of the essence as the deadline for announcing the World Cup squad is September 5.
Split captaincy for white-ball and red-ball formats is also in the discussion, according to sources. If Shakib prefers taking over the white-ball format hot seats, the Test captaincy could see change.
"Since we have the Asia Cup coming up, we want to announce the Asia Cup captain first. Along with that, the other two formats are there and we want to think about them and then give responsibility," Jalal told the media yesterday.
Whether or not Shakib now sees himself as the captain, the BCB's preference would be towards him. If Shakib, at the age of 37, does not see himself captaining the side behind the World Cup, the board would have to hold discussion.
For now, though, the ball may very well be in Shakib's court as BCB talks with potential candidates. It is a matter of frustration for even board members that the captaincy matter before major events is yet to be settled.