He is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest cricketers to lead Bangladesh. He led from the front and was pretty successful with the bat across formats. He scored as many as 38 half centuries, three hundreds to go with that. That's why Habibul Bashar is fondly called 'Mr. Fifty'.
Bashar led the side from 2004 to 2007. Bangladesh won their first Test match under the leadership of Bashar. He captained the side in 29 victories in ODIs as well.
In the fourth episode of The Business Standard's (TBS) captains' captain series, Habibul Bashar talked about his favourite leader and different aspects of captaincy.
In Bashar's words
I've played under quite a few captains. Everyone had their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, we used to hear that Durjoy (Naimur Rahman) would captain the national team from childhood. Pilot (Khaled Mashud) was very passionate. Akram bhai (Akram Khan) and Bulbul bhai (Aminul Islam) were also brilliant. Sujon bhai (Khaled Mahmud) was an excellent captain, especially off the field. But among the captains I have played under, I feel Faruk Ahmed was the best.
Faruk bhai was brilliant both on and off the field. He used to read the situation of a match really well. He knew the capabilities of the players thoroughly and knew their limitations as well. I played under Nannu bhai (Minhajul Abedin) for a year too. But I rate Faruk Ahmed very highly as a leader.
It's difficult to pick one if I am asked to name my favourite captain. I feel Steve Waugh was a very charismatic captain. You may say that Waugh had a star-studded team which made his job easier. But I very well know how difficult it is to maintain such a stellar team.
It's not as difficult to maintain a team with players who have limited capabilities. But it's really tough to keep players of incredible calibre always motivated on and off the field. That's the reason why I like Steve Waugh the most. He was completely a different person off the field. On the field, he was extremely aggressive and didn't even give away a single easy run. But off the field he was very friendly.
But I had never tried to copy anyone's style while captaining. It's always better to do what you think is appropriate for your team as a captain.
I got advice from many people. I always listened to everyone carefully and tried to take the positives out of them. But at the end of the day, it was I who had to lead the side and I followed my own philosophy.
For example, I noticed Steve Waugh to support his teammates no matter what. He scolded them on the field but he never backed away from supporting them. That's one quality I always tried to acquire.
When Sourav Ganguly became the Indian captain, he had to handle so many superstars and legends of the game. It took immense courage to do so, being a Bengal boy. But he never gave up. That's a quality all the captains need to have.
I always remained honest to myself, to my teammates and to the game. No matter what, the team always came first to me. If you can gain the trust of your teammates, your job becomes easier. That's what I always tried to do as a captain.