The Financial Express

Shakib’s coincidental hat-trick of captaincy

| Updated: June 14, 2022 12:50:28

Shakib’s coincidental hat-trick of captaincy

Bangladesh’s greatest ever all-rounder is set to commence on his third stint as Bangladesh captain and as a miraculous coincidence, it's West Indies yet again against whom Shakib will be starting his third-time captaincy reign.

It was in 2009 at the age of 22 when Mashrafe Bin Mortaza suffered an injury in the middle of the first Test, Shakib was first handed over the captaincy at Kingstown.

During that period (2009-2011), he led Bangladesh to a historic away Test and ODI series triumph in the West Indies. But that pair of victories in the West Indies was his only taste of success in Tests as Bangladesh lost the next 8 matches under him in whites.

When it comes to white-ball cricket, he won 21 out of 47 ODI games and lost 4 T20Is during his tenure.
When Shakib was handed the reins in 2017 for the second time, replacing Mushfiqur Rahim, his Test captaincy in that stint started with an embarrassing series loss in West Indies as Bangladesh were bowled out for 43 runs in the first Test in Antigua and eventually lost the series 2-0.

In the 5 Test matches in that period, he managed to come victorious on 2 occasions as Bangladesh even suffered a Test defeat against Afghanistan under him. From 2017 to 2019, he led Bangladesh in 16 T20Is and won 7 and acted as replacement captain for Mashrafe Bin Mortaza for 3 ODIS.

Overall, from his 14 Tests as a captain, he won 3 and lost 11 times. In white-ball cricket, however, he has a better win rate of 42.3 per cent.

Amidst the continuous struggles in Test cricket for Bangladesh, Shakib Al Hasan has been handed the responsibility to steady the rocking boat with his captaincy for the third time after he lost his captaincy in 2019 following an ICC ban.

In terms of experience and previous stints at captaincy, there has never been any doubt regarding Shakib’s capabilities as a captain. But at the age of 35 with not too many years left in his career, his main responsibility as a skipper should be to fill in major voids and formulate a method to reach consistency in this format.

Shakib faces a difficult challenge in his side’s batting in Tests as the numbers will suggest how vulnerable the Tigers' top order has been lately.

In the last 3 Test series, the side has lost 5 wickets under 50 runs 5 times with little or no runs from the bat of former skipper Mominul Haque and number 3 Najmul Hossian Shanto being a major issue. Bangladesh has also been bowled out for less than 100 thrice in the last 6 months.

The marked improvement in fast bowling over the years for Bangladesh will no doubt please the new skipper as fast bowlers are major assets in Tests, nevertheless, there is still room for major improvements.

Over the last few Tests series, an interesting trend has emerged of how Bangladesh tend to do well in the first game of a series and then lose the plot in the next match.

Winning the first game against New Zealand, then failing to compete in the second; fighting against South Africa in the first Test match, then faltering yet again in the second; an inspiring draw in the first Test of the series of the recently concluded home series against Sri Lanka saw the team break down in the second are some examples. This is an area that the newly appointed skipper will try to address.

But there is a saying in Bangladesh cricket - "if no one can, Shakib can." The board has yet again rested its hope on its talisman to achieve ever-craving success in this format.

Someone like Shakib who knows Bangladesh cricket like the back of his hands should be well aware of how certain things can be planned for the future and as a player whose opinions are highly regarded in the cricketing fraternity, his decisions will be pivotal. How he looks to bring the best from off players will also be key.

In his third stint, Shakib will be under more pressure than the previous ones because of the struggling state of the team and the bar of expectations being high.

Nevertheless, throughout his career, Shakib has shined the brightest when he is under pressure and the stakes are high.

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