Mahmudullah looks to fill Bangladesh leadership vacuum

The Times of India

The Times of India

Author 2019-11-03 11:40:00

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  • Mahmudullah was elevated to the hot seat due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • It's not just about replacing the biggest name in Bangladesh cricket in Shakib.
  • It's also about building on the solid foundation set by Mortaza.
  • Post the World Cup this year, Shakib was meant to take the team forward.
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NEW DELHI: Rohit Sharma's words on the eve of the first T20I should be music to ears of followers of Bangladesh cricket, who have been fighting the 'minnows' label forever. Rohit emphasized that Bangladesh are now "mature" enough to "beat" teams instead of causing an "upset".

Rohit knows he is just filling in for regular captain Virat Kohli, who is giving his wearing body some rest. It's a different story altogether for Mahmudullah, who has been elevated to the hot seat due to unforeseen circumstances.

It's not just about replacing the biggest name in Bangladesh cricket in Shakib Al Hasan. It's also about building on the solid foundation set by a 'great' leader in Mashrafe Mortaza. Post the World Cup this year, Shakib was meant to take the team forward.

Now, the ship has been rocked and Mahmudullah finds himself in front of the wheel trying to steady it.

Unlike Rohit, who is keen on carrying forward Kohli and the team management's policies, Mahmudullah knows it's up to him to build a team for the T20 World Cup in a year's time. "I don't take this opportunity as a burden. I have done it a few times before as well when Shakib and Mashrafe were not around," Mahmudullah said.

Much of Bangladesh's rise as a limitedovers force since the 2015 World Cup revolved around the leadership of Mortaza and the evolution of Shakib as the premier allrounder in world cricket.

A day tour in Dhaka would summarize how the pulse of Bangladesh cricket is dominated by these two players. "We will welcome Shakib with open arms. We loved Shakib, still love Shakib and will continue loving Shakib," an assertive Mahmudullah said, summing up the significance of the allrounder.

"They have been great leaders. Shakib has some amazing qualities. Mash (Mortaza) had been a great motivator. We have been playing together for a while. I just need to step up and be a good leader for our group," Mahmudullah said, giving a glimpse of how his men thrive on good leadership.

The Bangladesh board splurges a lot to import quality support staff. Daniel Vettori is around as consultant to complement head coach Russell Domingo. But it all comes down to the man in the field reading his players and working around them.

"We have to play as a team. As a group, we need to use our opportunities and be committed to execute our plans. I love this opportunity to lead the team. I need to score to get the group going too."

Mahmudullah emphatically claimed to have done his primary job, to take the team's mind off all the recent domestic issues. "That's an issue that has gone by. We are focussing on playing tomorrow and win the game," he remarked.

These are testing times for Bangladesh but they could do well to derive inspiration from the three key words Rohit uttered on Saturday- 'mature', 'beat' and 'upset'.

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