No matter what, given the stats and some of the performances in the recent past, we can all agree that Mahmudullah Riyad is an important member of the Bangladesh cricket team.
There is a reason why he’s considered as one of the five pillars in the national team and it’s not just the stats but his ability to help the team win games with the bat.
However, according to a team source, Bangladesh vice-captain Shakib Al Hasan wanted to drop him after he played a slow innings against England in the World Cup.
But captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza decided against the move, which has led to Shakib not taking part in the team’s decisions moving forward.
With the news of the rift among the senior members now public, let’s try to analyse all of this.
Why is Mahmudullah important?
While he may not have over six thousand ODI runs like Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim or Shakib Al Hasan, he is probably the only finisher in the Bangladesh cricket team.
He has shown time and time again that he can perform under pressure situations and he can up the ante when required.
He did that in the match against Australia where is scored a quickfire fifty and finished the World Cup with an average over 40.
He very much showed discontent after not receiving enough support from the players not clapping him after he reached his fifty in that innings.
While the 33-year-old was unable to bowl because of a shoulder injury, he was still one of the performers with the bat in the World Cup.
Does Shakib have a point?
Shakib Al Hasan has been known to show no mercy to those that don’t perform or live up to their reputations.
While that can have its benefits, as was evident in the home Test series against West Indies, where it was an all-out spin attack, it has the potential to disrupt the harmony of the team.
It probably was the case here, as Shakib wanting to leave a senior member like Mahmudullah out and not getting his wish granted led to further trouble.
It only caused the tensions within the senior members to seep through, and while Bangladesh put in some good performances, they didn’t have that added spark to take the team through to wins.
Is Mahmudullah’s career in jeopardy?
The right-handed batsman has not had a good time in Sri Lanka, scoring three and six in the first two ODIs respectively.
He is under pressure to perform for sure, and with talks of Sri Lanka’s current coach Chandika Hathurusinghe once again taking the Bangladesh head coach role, Mahmudullah might be in trouble.
Hathurusinghe does not have the best of relations with Mahmudullah as he once dropped the batsman.
Much like Shakib, Hathurusinghe has not been shy of setting an example by dropping players if they didn’t perform.
Shakib might have thought that by dropping Mahmudullah, it would keep the other players on alert to perform but it certainly hasn’t worked out now.
Why did the news of the rift break now?
This is a very suspicious call as the person who certainly gave the information to the journalist(s) chose to remain unnamed.
The incidents occurred during the World Cup and something should have been written about or published when they occurred.
Not after the tournament, at such an opportune moment when the player is going through a bad patch and it almost feels like an attack on the player.
Whatever the reasons are, a few defeats seem like what was necessary to bring up some important issues within the team.
There have been questions as to why the team underperformed in the latter stages of the World Cup and apart from the sacking of head coach Steve Rhodes, not enough of an explanation was given or investigation was made.
Now we have a start as to what the big problems in the team might be.
One can only hope that Bangladesh can figure out a way to fix these issues.
Mahmudullah is too big and important a player to have his career shortened by politics within the team and it cannot bode well for the future of Bangladesh cricket.