Bangladesh have won 10 out of 104 test matches thus far. Seven of those came under the captaincy of Mushfiqur Rahim. If ever there was a case of numbers not revealing the complete picture, then this would be it. Despite leading his country's recent progress in the Test arena, the wicket-keeper batsman's insipid leadership has come under immense scrutiny.
During the recently completed Test series against South Africa, Mushfiqur's bizarre tactics and woeful body-language played a key role in consigning Bangladesh to defeats by hefty margins. If the first Test saw the visitors go down by 333 runs, the second game witnessed an even bigger mismatch as the Proteas trampled over their frail opponents by an innings and 254 runs. As a consequence, the 30-year old's captaincy future is in serious jeopardy.
Here are five solid reasons why Bangladesh should sack Mushfiqur from Test captaincy and give the opportunity to a more suitable leader.
#5 Tactically inept and behaviorally negative
Even though South Africa rolled out a flat surface for the opening Test at the Senwes Park in Potchefstroom, Mushfiqur chose to bowl first after winning a handy toss. Needless to say, the move drew flak from various quarters with plenty of former skippers questioning the rationale behind such a decision.
The hosts made a mockery of the bowling attack and assumed control right from the first ball of the match. Proving that his inexplicable tactics were not an aberration, the Bangladesh captain repeated the same mistake during the second Test at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein.
When his bowlers are being flayed all over the park, any decent captain would be in the thick of things. However, Mushfiqur positioned himself near the boundary and watched the proceedings with a resigned look on his face.
This was arguably the worst display of captaincy seen in recent times. After receiving a hammering, the seasoned campaigner went on to admit that he was not able to 'motivate' his players and even wished that he had not won the toss. From his own admission, he does not possess the basic leadership skills required for captaining an international team.
#4 Lack of vision for his team's future
For a developing team like Bangladesh, it becomes imperative for the captain to have a clear vision for the future. Unlike in their formative years, the rising Asian side have a robust domestic system and numerous young players are making their presence felt.
A strong leader can pounce on the situation by infusing fresh blood in the set-up. However, Mushfiqur does not appear to have the foresight or awareness needed for such a scenario to happen.
Persisting with underwhelming senior players like Imrul Kayes and rash batsmen such as Sabbir Rahman does not bode well for Bangladesh's future. With brighter prospects like Mosaddek Hossain and Nazmul Hossain coming through the ranks, a confident leader can ease their journey from the domestic circuit to the international arena.
Having a keen eye for spotting precocious talent can go a long way in this regard. Any young player finding his way into the Bangladesh team needs a senior mentor to make the big leap. But Mushfiqur's timid body language prevents him from playing a role in the development of promising but inexperienced players. The manner in which he handles his bowlers says a lot about his inability to inspire his teammates.
#3 Fragile batting lineup needs his full attention
Although they showed admirable resolve during the 2-match series in New Zealand earlier this year, their batting in Test cricket stands on shaky ground at the moment. Often prone to calamitous collapses during inopportune moments, Bangladesh have time and again fell apart in overseas conditions.
Their batting lineup comprises of experienced campaigners such as Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan apart from Mushfiqur. Yet, the malaise does not seem to abate. As evidenced by their woeful display in the second Test against Australia at Chittagong, they have the weakness of losing wickets in a cluster even on home soil.
As captain, Mushfiqur has scored 2321 runs (comfortably the best in Bangladesh's Test history) at an average of 41.44 with 4 centuries and 12 fifties. But he has the potential to do even better at the highest level of the game. Armed with a reasonable technique against both pace and spin, the right-hander also has an extensive array of shots at his disposal. However, he has shown a tendency of retreating into his shell during recent times.
By relieving him of the burdensome captaincy duties, Bangladesh can help him channel his energy solely on delivering high-impact performances with the bat. Taking into account their batting frailties, the team desperately needs Mushfiqur to focus completely on his batting. Removing the captaincy armband from him can be a major step in that direction.
#2 Availability of much better alternatives
In certain cases, teams may not have the luxury of viable alternatives and hence find themselves persisting with the same captains even though results suggested otherwise.
However, Bangladesh possesses quite a few candidates who are capable of leading their Test side in the proper direction. With public sentiment yearning for a change at the helm of affairs, this is the right time for Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and their coaching staff to replace Mushfiqur as Test captain.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz showcased his natural leadership trait by captaining Bangladesh to a creditable third-place finish in the 2016 U-19 World Cup on home soil.
If the selectors feel that the talented all-rounder is a bit too young for taking charge of the senior Test team, then they have very experienced candidates in the likes of Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. The former is currently serving as Bangladesh's T20I skipper.
Factoring the left-arm spinner's surprising decision to opt out of the Test series in South Africa, Tamim appears to be the best man to take the Test reins from Mushfiqur.
#1 Insecure mindset can be a recipe for disaster
Immense self-belief is the foremost attribute required for any world-class captain. The common link connecting almost every great leader stems from a well-balanced and assured mindset. Such a trait helps greatly in galvanising a team during difficult situations.
Mushfiqur falls short in this regard. BCB President Nazmul Hassan recently revealed, "If he doesn't do well, he becomes disheartened in the field. His team-mates have to encourage him and not the other way around. He becomes demoralised, goes into his shell."
Mushfiqur's internal issues have crept up due to the prevalence of insecurity in his mind. From his premature celebration during the thrilling match against India in the 2016 World T20 to his shameful tweet in the aftermath of the semi-final, the wicket-keeper batsman's shenanigans are well-documented.
Lack of faith in one's own ability results in deriving a vicarious pleasure from others' defeats. Offering the honour of captaining a cricket crazy nation to such a meek personality becomes the perfect recipe for disaster.
As is often seen, the captain's image influences a team to a significant extent. In order to prevent Mushfiqur's timorous attitude from rubbing off on his teammates, Bangladesh have to replace him as Test skipper immediately.