Regular captain Mahmudullah was struggling with his fitness after the second T20I and eventually he was ruled out officially before the game started on Thursday morning
Bangladesh suffered a heavy defeat against hosts New Zealand as they were all out for just 76 in 9.3 overs to concede a 65-run loss in the rain-hit 10 overs per side T20I at Eden Park, Auckland on Thursday.
Regular captain Mahmudullah was struggling with his fitness after the second T20I and eventually he was ruled out officially before the game started on Thursday morning.
Bangladesh are already without their senior players Shakib al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim and the forced exclusion of Mahmudullah raised a concern about who will take the baton of captaincy in the last match of the devastating series.
Surprisingly Liton Kumar Das was declared as captain through a press release from BCB just before one hour of the game.
Choosing Liton as a captain was like completely out of the blue as he has never captained even in the highest level of the domestic leagues.
Moreover, when options like Nazmul Hossian Shanto, Mosaddek Hossian Saikat , Mohammad Mithun and Soumya Sarkar are available in the squad, Liton’s selection as a stand-in skipper raised many eyebrows.
Shanto is often considered as one of the future candidates for captaincy in shorter formats for Bangladesh. He was even captain of the side during the only practice match (Tamim XI vs Shanto XI) that Bangladesh had played after completing the quarantine period in New Zealand before the ODI series started.
And Mosaddek is a regular face as a captain in domestic circuit as Abahani Limited became champion under his captaincy in the Dhaka Premier League in 2019 season.
Even Soumya captained in a practice match against touring England side back in 2016. He scored a blistering fifty in the previous T20I in this New Zealand tour. The aggressive batsman might ignite the spirit of the side had he given the responsibility of captaincy in the third and final match of the tour.
Mithun is also a regular name as skipper in domestic leagues. He even captained Chittagong side in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup in last December where his team played in the final and lost to Mahmudullah’s Gemcon Khulna. Mithun’s captaincy was praised in that tournament as Chittagong played good cricket overall in that Twenty-20 competition.
So, if team management knew that Mahmudullah would not be fit for the final game then why did they drop Mithun who can be a good option for captaincy?
Opener Liton, who was struggling for runs in both ODI and T20I series, was seen a bit nervous as expectedly with his new role as he was under pressure straight away when New Zealand opener Martin Guptil and Fin Allen gave a blazing start for the Kiwis.
The only success Liton got as a captain was just winning the toss. Other than that, nothing went in favour for him as his bowling changes or move like opening the bowling with a spinner even in a gloomy condition or change of field placements did not work in the game.
And to make it worse, Liton got out with a first ball duck when his off stump was rattled by counterpart Tim Southee while trying to play an audacious scoop shot.
To be honest, Liton’s captaincy could not however, be harshly criticized as he was given the onus in a 10-over match to lead a mentally devastated side in depressing conditions. But the decision of choosing him looked like a gamble that did not pay off well.