Bangladesh CricketFeature

Shakib’s Captaincy Dilemma: Off-Field Reluctance

When Shakib Al Hasan was appointed as captain, many considerations must have been taken into account. It became evident that finding a suitable leader for the team on short notice was a challenge.

However, a notable issue arises as Shakib, despite assuming the captaincy, seems reluctant to engage in off-field responsibilities. In a recent interview, he himself stated, “The captain’s primary role is off the field.”

To illustrate this point, whenever asked about his input on team matters, Shakib often responds with phrases like, ‘There was no discussion’ or ‘I don’t have information on that.’ For instance, even when the national team’s openers were struggling with form, Shakib, as the captain, didn’t express his opinion on whether an experienced player like Tamim should remain in the team due to ‘injury concerns.’ Surprisingly, this critical topic was not even discussed with Shakib.

Shakib cited an example from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but here’s another one from Dhoni. Before the 2008 CB series in Australia, Dhoni conveyed to selectors that taking ‘elderly players’ to a vast field like Australia would be unwise, as they might score centuries but also concede more runs in the field. Hence, he recommended leaving older players behind in Australia.

This isn’t an isolated case. Typically, coaches and captains collaborate on strategies and tactics, and selectors listen to their input in most cricketing nations. The decision to include Moeen Ali in this year’s Ashes squad, for instance, came from Ben Stokes. However, Bangladesh seems to operate differently. Even with Shakib as captain, he wasn’t aware of who would be included in the World Cup squad.

Now, as the team’s captain, if he has no say in plans or player selection, one wonders how Shakib can genuinely lead the team effectively.

Since the 2019 World Cup, Shakib has expressed his desire to step down from the captaincy to focus solely on playing and enjoying the game. He no longer sees the captaincy as adding value to his career and has been urging the BCB to appoint someone else as captain. In essence, he no longer has the mindset to think about the team as a whole in his role as captain.

Shakib’s perspective remains unchanged, seemingly unaware that the captain’s responsibilities extend beyond the field.

Written By: Raisul Rifat

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