Unease between a successful captain and the board is never a good sign. One cannot directly prove impact on the performance of the side, but it can rarely help. Mashrafe Mortaza is easily the most successful captain for Bangladesh. He has turned the fortunes around by empowering young players and trusting the seniors. But it looks like, things are starting to unravel.
Coming of a fantastic away series win in the West Indies, this was a chance for Bangladesh to build. They were on course for just that with the win against Sri Lanka. Mushfiqur Rahim carried the batting despite Tamim Iqbal’s injury. Post that game, it has been pretty much downhill. They rested key bowlers against Afghanistan and paid the price with a heavy loss. Despite playing their best 11, Bangladesh was swept aside by India. In both games batting buckled under pressure.
The solution isn’t obvious but it seems the board and the captain disagree on the approach. Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar have been added to the squad by the board, and Mashrafe made it clear this wasn’t his call. He made valid point about these players been given ample chances before being dropped. They had to make some progress before they were to be recalled. He also questioned what good will they do, having little time to acclimatize themselves with the weather and pitch conditions.
Stories are emerging that this was done w/o consulting the selectors. Minhajul Abedin and Habibul Bashar, both former Bangladesh stalwarts, are part of the selection committee. Minhajul is the official chief selector but time and again his authority has been brought into question. BCB’s cricket operations chairman, Akram Khan, who is part of the selection committee made this announcement. He said that this was being done on the behest of team management. Since, Mashrafe was distanced himself of the selection, this has to come from team manager Khaled Mahmud and/or coach Chandika Hathurusingha. Both are also part of the selection committee.
They face a must win game Afghanistan to stay alive in the tournament. With a clear statement of non confidence from the captain, one wonders if these reinforcements will make it to the side. If they do, what kind of mental state would they be in to face the likes of Mujeeb ur Rehman and Rashid Khan?