Will Riyad meet Mominul’s fate?
Following the T20 World Cup debacle in the UAE last year, there were talks in the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) hierarchy about finding a new direction for the T20I team.
However, with two key series against Pakistan and Afghanistan so soon after that debacle, the BCB did not want to mess up the balance of the side and create further chaos.
But the series against Pakistan and Afghanistan saw similar performances when BCB did not want to rock the boat by relieving Mahmudullah Riyad of the captaincy even after insipid performances from the team. It was hoped that four months' break following the Afghanistan series would see the skipper set a much more defined outline for the side but after the first two T20Is in the Caribbean, the team's tactical processes still appear half-cooked.
To make matters worse, Riyad's form with the bat did not inspire confidence in the side.
Coming in at number five, Riyad's role is to give the team the momentum in the end overs by stepping on the power-hitting paddle. There have been many occasions in the past where Riyad has turned saviour by putting his skill-hitting ability to use.
That brings BCB to the current situation where the captain himself has not been amongst the runs. When he has wanted to accelerate in recent outings, it has only led to his dismissal, much in the same way he fell in the two T20Is in Dominica against West Indies.
When the BCB would like to make a decision regarding Mahmudullah remains to be seen but the board knows that how Mominul Haque's Test captaincy was dealt with recently, set a precedent.
Since the World Cup debacle, Riyad's highest score has been the 21 he scored in the second T20I against Afghanistan in November last year. His last fifty came against an associate nation in Papua New Guinea and since then he has played 12 innings without any major contribution.
The BCB had hoped that the gap in T20 assignments after the home series against Afghanistan will bring better performances but Tigers' approach is mired in as much inconsistency as the scores the batters have produced in the format recently.
"Sometimes a break can help you, at times it's okay. It's just a matter of time to get along," Riyad had said after the second T20I in Dominica when asked on the challenges of returning to the T20I format after a break.
Time is something that has not produced the results the BCB had hoped for. It was learned that BCB high-ups had been in favour of a change of leadership in the format if results did not meet expectations following that break. But whether the issue now would be Riyad's leadership or whether focus would turn to his batting performances, would set further precedent on setting up the culture of a 'performing captain'. BCB however cannot linger too long since time is running out for both Riyad and the board considering the fact that the ICC T20 World Cup is not very far away.