For context in regard to what you're about to read, let's take one of the most well-run clubs on the planet, Liverpool Football Club as an example. Their official club captain is England international Jordan Henderson. However, he doesn't feature in the starting eleven week in week out but does so among the substitutes. Chances are, it's probably Virgil van Djik who gets to wear the captaincy armband more often than Henderson due to VvD's game time. However, when and if Henderson comes onto the pitch as a substitute, the armband is handed over to him; the actual and official captain of the team.
Unfortunately, the changing or handing over of team captaincy is something that the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) just do not seem to be able to execute without creating a ruckus amongst the players and the fans; which invariably gives off a vibe that may very well be labelled as unprofessional, blended with a side of borderline disrespect.
To sum things up, Mahmudullah Riyad, the official T20 captain of the Bangladesh cricket team was 'rested' for the ongoing Zimbabwe tour. That's the official statement. Not dropped. Not relieved of his captaincy duties. But rested. Also to be noted is that the 36-year-old, who has been playing regularly this season was 'rested' only for the T20 series which was completed in a matter of four days; but not from the ODI team. Sure, BCB might deem four days long enough for a proper break but it certainly doesn't feel like an effective move.
Be that as it may, stand-in captain Nurul Hasan Sohan fractured his finger during the second game of the series and was replaced by you know who, the rested Mahmudullah Riyad.
But here's the catch, when Riyad put his hand up to come in as a replacement for Sohan, he wasn't handed over the captaincy armband like they do in football. Rather, he played last night's game as a regular player whilst still being the official T20I captain.
Now, this is the part which seems a bit iffy about what actually is going on behind the scenes regarding the captaincy of the T20I team.
Here are some questions for the decision-makers. If the public statement is that you are choosing to rest a 36-year-old player rather than dropping him for his string of underwhelming performances over the past year; then you are voluntarily resting him so that you could manage his workload. How does resting someone for four literal days count as game-time management?
On the contrary, when the likes of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim are rested, they are rested for entire series spanning over a few weeks which can be termed as proper workload management.
Leading on, if Mahmudullah has not been sacked as the captain, why would Mosaddek Hossain be named the skipper for last night's series decider in spite of Riyad's availability? In whichever way you want to paint the picture, the reality is anything but organised.
Moreover, how is such treatment of a senior player acceptable? One may think of Mahmudullah Riyad as a rope which is used for playing tug of war. No matter which team pulls, the rope has to comply. Mahmudullah Riyad has been at the beck and call of BCB since literally the dawn of time. He has been the team's no. 8 batter when the team didn't have room for him in the top order. He was the top order batter when the side had no one else to fill the slots. He was the team's finisher when there was no one else in the country to play that role. He was pulled into the middle order again when his finishing prowess was brought into question. One wonders how much of a say Riyad had in any of these.
Furthermore, Riyad was dropped from Test squads on innumerable occasions and also brought back in against his will at times. He was named captain when no one else was willing to take the responsibility. He was the saviour, when there was no one else to save the side's face. He has been the scapegoat when there was no one else to blame. After all this the least he deserves is closure and clarity as to what decisions the BCB are taking regarding his present and future and so do the fans.
Speaking of fans, it's high time the BCB personnel stopped banking on the supposed naivety of the 170 million fans. Fans are not stupid to not see through what's going on. As stated earlier, it is clear as day that Mahmudullah Riyad was dropped and not rested. In this day and age of social media, everybody has multiple resources for availing any information. Fans are the biggest consumers. They are the ones who had the most part in making BCB the fourth richest board on the planet, not any external investor or sponsor. The least they deserve is professionalism and clarity when it comes to taking decisions that directly affect them. Anything less, is borderline disrespect and the fans deserve better.