Mashrafe Mortaza to be axed from captaincy following Zimbabwe ODIs
The forthcoming three-match ODI series between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will be Mashrafe Mortaza's last stint as skipper.
He won't be calling the shots after Bangladesh' next assignment and BCB president Nazmul Hassan has announced they will appoint a new captain shortly.
Mortaza's fitness has been under the scanner since the ICC ODI 2019 World Cup and even though he has managed to do a decent job with the ball - even in his twilight of the career - perhaps owing to his plethora of skills and vast experience, it might not be sustainable for the veteran to continue if his fitness levels continue to deteriorate.
After Zimbabwe series, Bangladesh will resume Pakistan tour and for the one-off ODI on April 3, a new leader will most likely be announced.
Mortaza's future as captain was uncertain following last year's marquee tournament despite bowling-allrounder quashing rumours surrounding his cricket career.
"We know that top players retire on their own will. We also wanted to give him a good send-off. He can play if he wants to, but I am more concerned about the captaincy. Once we declare on the captaincy, he can enter the team on his performance," Nazmul said.
BCB president isn't promising a guaranteed spot for the seasoned campaigner and said he will have to earn his place in the side.
"We have started to stress on beep tests, so Mashrafe may not pass the beep tests, so we can drop him if he doesn't pass it," Nazmul added.
Nazmul has hinted less stringent fitness criteria for Mortaza for the forthcoming Zimbabwe series.
“I think Mashrafe will play the ODI series against Zimbabwe, pending fitness. We will be lenient about his fitness. But very soon, we have to decide on the team and captain for the next World Cup. We don't have much time. We will take our decision after this ODI series."
BCB president alleged that Mortaza agreed to retire following World Cup, but upon returning from England he changed his mind and expressed his desire to continue playing cricket.
"When I spoke to him during the World Cup, we discussed that if we can arrange a home ODI, he will retire. After returning, he changed his mind. And then he also said that he doesn't want a send-off. He never told me. I saw it in the media. We have taken a month or a month-and-a-half to decide our next ODI captain."
Mortaza has been an important cog in Bangladesh wheels and has been part of the national team for a mighty long time. Under his captaincy, the team improved leaps and bounds.
The first ODI between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will kick off on March 1 at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.