As Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's days as Bangladesh captain are numbered, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have already started mulling for his successor. But there is a catch as BCB President Nazmul Hassan stated in a press conference said that Shakib Al Hasan, who was Bangladesh's ODI vice-captain, would become the captain once he served his one-year ban from all forms of cricket imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
All of these results into another question popping up. That is of who will be Bangladesh's ODI captain till October 29 – the date till which Shakib will have to serve his ban.
Mahmudullah Riyad might be a contender and so is Mosaddek Hossain, and other names such as Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Liton Das have also surfaced in the cricketing arena.
The Mahmudullah dilemma
Mahmudullah Riyad might turn out to be BCB's obvious choice as skipper for the remaining ODIs till Shakib's return. The veteran batsman has been leading the T20 side since Shakib was banned. And it was under him that Bangladesh beat India at Delhi.
But Mahmudullah himself is going through a torrid time with the bat as he has been dropped from the one-off Test against Zimbabwe. Though BCB tagged his exclusion by calling it a "rest" from the longer version but considering his recent Test outings it can also be seen as a drop.
Former national team captain and former selector Faruk Ahmed though believes that Mahmudullah is a viable candidate to lead the side.
"Mahmudullah might be the captain. If he is in the squad in this period, then he is a good choice," he said.
He further added that despite him being rested from Tests, there is no obstacle on his way to becoming ODI captain.
"Test and ODI should not be mixed up. There is no connection between being rested from the Test side with being the ODI captain," Faruk added.
Bangladesh will play only seven ODIs till Shakib's return to international cricket. With Mashrafe said to lead the team for the last time against Zimbabwe, that means, according to the BCB President, Bangladesh will only play four ODIs before Shakib becomes the captain.
Questions have also risen about Shakib being handed the captaincy as many are putting Steven Smith into the frame. Smith was banned for the 'Sandpaper-gate' incident and despite his return to international cricket, he has not been handed the leadership of the Australian national side.
But as the situation stands for Bangladesh and the puzzle BCB are in with the captaincy role, Shakib might be their only option upon his return.
Building for the future
A dilemma about the captaincy in ODIs has also put up another question and that is if BCB is really working on making captains, ensuring that they are never out of options.
Bangladesh's recent U-19 skippers have all played for the national team but none of them has succeeded to cement his place in the national side. Anamul Haque, Mosaddek Hossain or Mehidy Hasan Miraz - none of them are yet an auto-choice for the national side and has been in and out of the side.
Former selector Faruk Ahmed said that he thought that BCB did not make captains and captains should be kept under the radar from the age-levels.
"We cannot actually make captains. Our captaincy is a musical chair, someone does bad and we hand it to someone else. We need to see from the age levels that how much captaincy material is in him. Because some are by born leaders and some learn the trade with time," Faruk said.
He further added that BCB needed to notice how far the age-level skippers can go and put up the World Cup-winning skipper Akbar Ali as an example.
"We also need to think how far the age-level captains can go. For example, Akbar is now being considered as a future captain. But we also need to consider his batting ability. If he makes it to the national team, then we can think of him as a captain," Faruk added.
BCB's will announce the successor to Mashrafe after their meeting in early March. There still remains a shade of cloud who it will be. And even though it is highly likely that the new skipper will only lead the side for only four matches, but still, this puzzle will be a hard one to solve.