What's the story?
Bangladesh have sacked wicket-keeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim from Test captaincy. Star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has replaced his long-time teammate at the helm of affairs. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) also confirmed the appointment of Mahmudullah as vice-captain of the Test team.
BCB chief Nazmul Hasan stated, "We can't say the specific reasons behind the decision (to sack Mushfiqur). Basically, we think that there should be a change here. We want the best batting service from Mushfiqur. We want to give him some time to relax and moreover he should concentrate on his batting. Overall, we are willing to make a plan for next four to five years and the decision is just the beginning of the new plan. There will be some changes also in other fields as well."
In the past...
Shakib has previously led Bangladesh in nine Tests between 2009 and 2011. When Mashrafe Mortaza injured his knee during the first Test of the 2009 series against West Indies, the left-arm spinner captained his country to a four-wicket victory against the depleted hosts in Grenada.
The heart of the matter
After beginning his Test captaincy on a winning note, Shakib had a rough time as he oversaw chastening defeats in the eight other matches in his leadership career. Since being sacked as skipper in 2011, the left-hander has gone on to establish himself as one of the leading all-rounders in the modern game.
With pressure mounting on him from various quarters, Mushfiqur's sacking has come on expected lines. Even though he is Bangladesh's most successful Test captain (with seven wins), the gloveman's defensive approach has often attracted scathing criticism.
An ignominious performance in South Africa (wherein Bangladesh lost the Tests by margins of 333 runs and innings & 254 runs) has turned out to be the straw that broke the camel's back. Interestingly, Shakib himself was unavailable for that particular series after he had ostensibly cited workload concerns.
The upcoming home series against Sri Lanka will be Shakib's maiden assignment in his latest captaincy stint. The 2-match Test series in January will also see former Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha growing into his new role with Sri Lanka.
Even though he had led them to drawn series against the likes of England and Australia at home, Bangladesh have made the right decision to sack Mushfiqur from Test captaincy. However, Tamim Iqbal could have made for a significantly better leadership option instead of Shakib.