Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mashrafe Mortaza Named Bangladesh ODI Captain for the England Tour

Pacer Mashrafe Mortaza has retained his ODI captaincy as the selectors announced him the captain of Bangladesh ODI team, replacing Shakib Al Hasan, for the upcoming tour of United Kingdom. This move has come as a surprise to many, given his recent form after recovering from injury.

Mashrafe was made Bangladesh captain for all three formats last year ahead of the West Indies tour, but his captaincy tenure came to an abrupt end after suffering a knee injury while bowling only his 7th over during the first test in the Caribbean. His deputy Shakib Al Hasan started deputizing for him since then. The pacer then underwent a knee surgery and return in action for an ODI against England last February.

So, retaining the captaincy from Shakib could have been justifiable for Mashrafe, but his recent form raises the question if it was the right time to give him back the captaincy.

In 4 ODI matches he played since his return from injury, Mashrafe conceded 191 runs in 24.4 overs with an economy rate of 7.74 and picked up only 2 wickets. He could not yet retain his place in the test squad since his full recovery.

On the other hand, Bangladesh was doing considerably well under Shakib’s captaincy and there was no urgency in bringing back Mashrafe as the captain. It is true that Shakib’s recent batting form is not satisfactory at all as he has no half century in his last 9 ODI innings. As a top order batsman, Shakib scored only 160 runs in his last 9 innings at an average of 17.77.

However, his bowling form is still pretty much satisfactory. In the last 9 ODI matches, Shakib picked up 15 wickets with an economy rate of 4.85 and fulfilled his bowling quote in 7 of them.

Mashrafe Mortaza could be a better leader and captain, but it is not perhaps the right time to make him the captain of Bangladesh ODI team when he is struggling to get his place back in the test squad. Moreover, Shakib’s recent performance is not bad enough to make someone captain who himself is struggling to get his form back.

In the UK, Bangladesh would play 3 ODI matches against England, 2 ODI matches against Ireland and ODI match against Scotland and Netherlands.

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