Mahmudullah Riyad has tasted captaincy in bits and pieces in the recent past and he was once again appointed captain in Bangladesh's T20 series against India following the ban on Bangladesh's regular T20 skipper Shakib Al Hasan.
Bangladesh fell into a dilemma in 2019 when the International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Shakib for a year for not reporting bookie approaches.
In Shakib, Bangladesh lost their best player and also their skipper in two different formats and the ban dates upto October 29, 2020, which means he is set to miss out on the T20 World Cup in Australia later on this year.
Since Shakib's ban, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) decided to hand out the captaincy of the side on a series-by-series basis and this saw Mahmudullah Riyad appointed as the captain for the Tigers' away series against India. He was again appointed for the T20 series at Pakistan but with the T20 World Cup knocking on the door, questions have emerged regarding the necessity of appointing a permanent captain.
Mahmudullah himself, also believes that it would have been better for him to plan things ahead if he was the regular skipper but he stated that it was the board's decision, not him. In the captain's press conference before the side travelled to Pakistan, Mahmudullah expressed his views on the team and captaincy.
"Obviously I feel that it would help the planning if I was handed the full-term captaincy but this is completely the board's decision. What I am thinking is that I have been given the armband for this series and I will try to do well here," Mahmudullah said.
He further added that he did not know anything about the regular skipper and he was only focusing on the upcoming series.
"I still don't know (about being permanent skipper). I have been given the responsibility for this series and I will try to make full use of it because we are handed captaincy on a series-by-series basis," the 33-year old added.
Questions regarding the security inevitably arrives when a tour to Pakistan is imminent and Mahmudulah said that everybody in the team was focused on cricket rather than anything else.
"Nobody of the team is concerned with the security, we are just thinking about playing. The decision has been taken and we will have to play and we will have to perform well," the Bangladesh skipper said.
Mahmudullah's brother-in-law and teammate Mushfiqur Rahim is not travelling to Pakistan because of security reasons and when questioned about that, Mahmudullah said that he supported Mushfiq's decision and added that it was tough for him also.
"Obviously it was tough because my family was concerned too. But they agreed after I talked to them and I am a bit relieved that they won't be tensed as Pakistan are providing us with the highest level of security. And I also support Mushfiq's decision because family comes first. I fully support his decision," he added.
With Shakib and Mushfiq being unavailable, Bangladesh have only two senior players in Mahmudullah and Tamim Iqbal in the side and Riyad felt that they have to take more responsibility than the others.
"I and Tamim both feel that we will have to take more responsibility. Tamim's experience in the top-order will help us a lot and he was among the runs in the BPL. We will try to carry out our responsibilities and I will try to do my best in the middle order," Mahmudullah said.
The squad announced for Bangladesh's Pakistan tour has seen five seamers included in Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain and Hasan Mahmud and combinedly they provide the side with a diverse pace-attack. Mahmudullah was hopeful with his pace platoon as he believed that they would deliver for him and added that it was necessary to have a diverse attack in T20s, especially ahead of the T20 World Cup.
"Having various types of fast bowlers helps a lot in T20s. Spinners will get less help from the pitch in Australia than the sub-continent. In that case, the seamers will play a big role and that is why we have an abundance of seamers in our team. We have a diverse pace-attack and I am hopeful that they will deliver. That is why I am not bothered by not having a proper spinner as our seamers are experienced and I will trust them," he added.
The squad for the Pakistan tour is overfilled in another position and that is the top-order as the squad has all of Tamim, Afif Hossain, Naim Sheikh, Liton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto and Soumya Sarkar. Mahmudullah believes that this will create a healthy competition within the side and the players must cope up with the competition.
"All of the top-order batsmen have been doing well. This is a very good sign for the team and I think it will create healthy competition within the team. Some batsmen will have to play in a less favoured position and it is important for them to cope up with it mentally and practice it. At the end of the day, it is important how much effort you are putting in for the team," Mahmudullah stated.
Mahmudullah also added that Pakistan were a very good side in T20s but believed that they could be beaten if the good touch of the players was utilized.
"Pakistan might have played not up to the mark in the last few series but I think that they are a very strong side in T20s. What we have to focus on is how well we can play. What I think is everyone in the side are in good touch and if we can utilize that we can win. I am very confident with the team but the matter to look forward is how well we can apply ourselves there," Mahmudullah added.
Mahmudullah has till date captained the Bangladesh side 14 times and has won only three of them but his appointment as permanent captain might be ensured if he can bring in good results from a tour which has already been in several questions.