The endless hours of waiting are at the brink of ending for Shakib Al Hasan.
On October 28, 2019, arguably Bangladesh's greatest-ever player was banned from international cricket by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a year after the southpaw failed to report corrupt approaches by bookmakers.
It was not just that he could not play during this time, he could also not enter any stadium or access any of the facilities of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to prepare himself.
But finally, on October 29, 2020, Shakib's ban will be over and he will once again walk on the field.
Everything has been prepared for Shakib too. A few days after his ban ends, he will be able to wear the national team jersey. The Sri Lanka series, which is now in a cloud of doubt, might see Shakib's return as early as the second Test.
To prepare for the series, Shakib has returned to his alma-mater, BKSP. Under two of his childhood coaches, Nazmul Abedin Faheem and Mohammad Salahuddin, Shakib has been working since September 5 to get himself ready.
But as the time of his return comes closer, one question has become imminent. Will Shakib become the captain on his return? The answer still remains in the dark as no BCB official is willing to spill the beans.
But there are rumours. Some say that BCB is not thinking of handing Shakib the captaincy right away. Shakib was the Test and T20I skipper before his ban and he will return to his position, but not right away.
Some say Tamim will stay on as the ODI captain while Shakib will be handed the Test and T20I captaincy right away.
Nobody has any questions about Shakib's prowess as a skipper. But to become the captain right after his ban ends? That would be something extremely rare, maybe something that has never happened in the history of cricket.
Take Steve Smith for example. The Australian batsman returned from his ban for the infamous 'Sandpapergate' for more than a year now, and the ban on his captaincy is also over after two years, but yet, he has not been handed the captaincy in any of the formats.
Many are opposing handing the captaincy immediately to someone returning from a ban. Among them are two former skippers who believe in Shakib's captaincy but don't want him to be the skipper right away.
"BCB did not ban him, ICC did. Those who were appointed during this time were not told that their appointment as captain was only for the time being, or that Shakib would become captain once he returns," one of the former captains, who sought anonymity, told The Business Standard (TBS).
"ICC has banned him and the allegations against him are serious. Whether he has done fixing or not, he has breached the laws of ICC. When someone breaks the law, he is guilty."
Shakib's incident has also harmed the team's trust in him, believes the former skipper.
"The trust of the team has been broken. It is not clear if the others will trust him if he is made captain now, as there has been damage because of him. It is better for BCB to not take that risk,"The other former skipper concurred.
"What message will you send by making Shakib captain now? Shakib did not become good as a captain in a day, he was given time. In that manner, the current skippers must also be given a chance."
"Also, Shakib has to regain trust. When a senior player commits such a mistake, there are a lot of questions. It might create questions in others' minds," he added.
Going by statistics, Shakib is one of Bangladesh's most successful captains. He holds a 21.42% winning record in Tests, which is only second to Mominul Haque's 25%. In ODIs, he is second to Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's winning record of 58.13% with 46.93%. In T20Is, Shakib has led the side to seven victories in 21 matches.
Shakib is even considered as a more insightful captain than Mashrafe by many. That is why he was made the skipper in Tests and T20Is and was very close to succeeding Mashrafe in ODIs. But then came the ban and Shakib's chance to become the captain in all three formats for the second time turned to dust.
Captain Shakib, his statistics, success - everything is on his side, except for his ban. There are examples in cricket where players who were great captaincy material could not lead their side for disciplinary issues.
The biggest name among them is Shane Warne. Warne was touted as a likely replacement to Steve Waugh as Australian skipper but lost the opportunity after a 12-month ban for drug use.
Hopefully, Shakib won't be Warne. But still, he will need time to get rid of the stain on his career.