The Bangladesh T20I squad for the India tour, led by Mahmudullah Riyad, reached New Delhi at 5:00pm local time (5:30pm BST) yesterday, ahead of their first multi-format series against India in their backyard. The Tigers will play a three-match T20I series, starting from November 3, before playing a two-match Test series.
Prior to the crucial series, Bangladesh cricket was thrown into turmoil with a cricketers’ protest which left the series in jeopardy at one point. But what had happened on Tuesday — premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan being banned by the ICC for two years, with one of those years suspended — left everyone shocked.
The Shakib issue was on the back of the players’ mind too, who went on tour without their regular captain. Mahmudullah, who was named T20I captain at the eleventh hour by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), also admitted that the troops would miss the number one all-rounder.
“We all know how big a player he [Shakib] is and how important he is to the team. He might have made a mistake but he did not commit any crime. He has all of our support. We all love Shakib and we will continue to do so,” Mahmudullah told media before leaving Dhaka yesterday.
However, Mahmudullah said that the Tiger would give their all to get the best results on tour.
“I will try my best to fulfil my duties as captain. Yes, they [India] are a very good team. But if we can give our best as a team and make the small chances count, then it is possible [to do something good],” said Mahmudullah.
Bangladesh wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim echoed similar sentiments.
“No one can replace Shakib. We will definitely miss Shakib as he is our number one player. It is really difficult to play without Shakib. But it’s a good opportunity for players who came into the team as replacements. It could have been that Shakib was out for a year due to injury and we are taking it like that.”
-With The Daily Star input