Mashrafe Mortaza has been named as Bangladesh’s ODI captain for the upcoming series against Zimbabwe, but his predecessor Mushfiqur Rahim will remain in charge of the Test team.
It represents something of an odd decision by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), considering Rahim has been effectively stripped of the one-day armband.
Rahim will now captain against Zimbabwe, but will then be required to step aside, despite having made an agreement in 2012 to captain until at least the end of the 2015 ICC World Cup.
However, the board insist the decision is at least partly motivated by a desire to maintain his batting form, particularly as he has been their highest scorer in ODI cricket this year.
BCB president Nazmul Hassan told ESPNcricinfo: “We considered Mushfiqur’s form as a batsman as one of the major reasons to relieve him of the ODI captaincy.”
“He is batting very well, and he can improve even more. So to captain the team, keep wicket and bat in this manner must be very difficult.”
Bangladesh are experimenting with the split captaincy before next year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
Regardless of their reasoning, it is unsurprising the BCB have opted to make a change, considering they have now lost 13 ODIs in 2013.
Though they were unlucky to be on the wrong end of a one-day series against Sri Lanka, they have also suffered a number of humiliating defeats. They were soundly beaten in the Asia Cup by both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and they were later to hit rock bottom with a loss against minnows Hong Kong in the T20 World Cup.
The difficulty lies in their lack of top, experienced players, which means taking the captaincy away from Rahim could risk demotivating one of their biggest stars.
His replacement Mortaza is also prone to injury, which means they could end up relying heavily on their back-ups.
Perhaps with that in mind, the position of vice-captain has also been shaken up, with Tamim Iqbal taking the role in Tests, while Shakib Al Hasan – who was sacked as skipper in 2013 and later banned for three months for breaches of discipline - will be deputy to Mortaza in the ODIs.
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