A SWOT analysis on who should be Bangladesh’s next ODI captain

Shakib Al Hasan, Litton Das and Mehidy Hasan MirazShamsul Hoque

Anyone who has done a major or minor in management or has had a course in management is familiar with SWOT Analysis. SWOT is an acronym which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Management professionals often use this analysis on businesses. It’s done before taking important business decisions such as introducing a new product in the market or before starting an entrepreneurial venture. It provides the decision maker with important information and helps them take the best possible decision.

Although it’s primarily used in businesses, SWOT analysis is also a proven method to help individuals make informed decision.

As per what Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) cricket operations chairman Jalal Yunus said on Tuesday, currently three names are in the running to become the new Bangladesh captain in the 50-over format– Shakib Al Hasan, Litton Das and Mehidy Hasan Miraz.

Yunus also revealed that the board president Nazmul Hassan will hold conversations with all three candidates and then appoint the new captain before the deadline to announce the squad for the Asia Cup, which is 12 August.

‘Who out of them should be the next Bangladesh ODI captain?’ that’s the question currently running on every cricket fans' mind in Bangladesh.

Now, Prothom Alo English takes an unconventional approach at answering this question, listing out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of these three candidates and leaving it to the readers to make up their mind on who should be the next ODI captain.

Shakib Al Hasan

Shakib Al Hasan
Anis Mahmud

Strength: Experience

Shakib Al Hasan is the most experienced of all three candidates. He is the current captain in Tests and Twenty20s and has the experience of leading the team in the 50-over format as well.

Shakib has captained Bangladesh in 50 ODIs, out of which the Tigers have won 23 and lost 26, making him the third most successful ODI captain for Bangladesh behind Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Habibul Bashar.

He also has experience of captaining a side in the World Cup, as he did that in the 2011 ICC World Cup, at just 24 years of age.

Weakness: Twilight of career

At 36 years of age, Shakib has so far shown no signs of slowing down as a cricketer. The all-rounder plays in all three formats for Bangladesh and is currently leading them in two of them.

He is also a sought after commodity in franchise cricket. However, as all world class athletes before him, Shakib will also inevitably concede defeat to age at one point.

It’s unlikely that his body will show effects of his age in the 2023 ICC World Cup, which will begin on 5 October. But if the BCB is thinking long term, which is what the board president had said in a recent interaction with the media, his age is a worry.

Opportunity: A captain who can lead by example

Very few cricketers in the world can claim to have the consistency that Shakib has. The all-rounder first became the No.1 ranked all-rounder in ODIs way back in 2009 and since then has remained in the top 3 in all-rounder’s rankings in all three formats. Currently, he is the No.1 ranked all-rounder in ODIs and T20I while he is 3rd in Tests.

Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan plays a shot during the first one-day international (ODI) cricket match between South Africa and Bangladesh at SuperSport Park in Centurion on 18 March 2022

Regardless of whether he becomes the captain or not, Bangladesh’s hopes will be pinned on the all-rounder. And his performance will play a crucial role in determining where Bangladesh will finish in the competition.

With him as captain, Bangladesh could have a leader who can lead by example on the field, something Mashrafe couldn’t provide in the 2019 ICC World Cup.

Threat: Short term benefit, long term loss

If Shakib is given the captaincy in ODIs, he will become the captain in all three formats for Bangladesh for the first time since 2011.

Shakib imay be Bangladesh’s most consistent performer, however, he is also the player who has skipped the most national team assignments to either take rest or to play in a franchise league.

Handing the captaincy to a player who might not be available for every series while having two younger captaincy candidates in hand could bring short term benefits but cause more harm in the long term.

Litton Das

Litton Das

Strengths: Long term captaincy prospect

After a rocky start to his international career, Litton has become a sure starter for Bangladesh in all formats.

At 28 years of age, Litton is in his prime as a batter. He also has been effectively in training to become the next ODI captain as he was serving as captain Tamim Iqbal’s deputy for a long time.

Litton captained the team in five ODIs when Tamim wasn’t available. The BCB has treated him as the heir apparent to the ODI captaincy throne. And if Litton clicks as a skipper, Bangladesh would have a captain who could potentially lead them in the 2027 World Cup as well.

Weakness: Pressure of captaincy in World Cup

Litton could be called Bangladesh’s most crucial batter in ODIs. When Litton scores runs, life gets easier for the Bangladesh middle-order which is currently packed with in form batters like Towhid Hridoy, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim. If he gets out cheaply, the middle-order has to repair the damage before they can launch.

Adding the weight of captaincy could end up having a detrimental effect on his batting, which is a risk the BCB might want to avoid.

Opportunity: Signal the beginning of a new era

The heyday of the ‘Fab 5’ era in Bangladesh cricket has already ended. Mashrafe is no longer there in the team, Mahmudullah hasn’t been a part of the squad in the past few series and his participation in the World Cup is also shrouded in doubt and Tamim is also at the moment not a part of the squad due to his back injury.

Bangladesh's Litton Das plays a shot for four runs

Shakib and Mushfiq are still going strong in the ODI side. If Shakib is chosen as skipper, the reminiscence of the Fab 5 era will linger over the ODI team for a little longer.

But if Litton is named as captain, it will signal the start of a new era, where players like Litton, Miraz, Taskin, Shanto will take centre stage.

Threat: Downfall

The last Bangladeshi cricketer to replace a veteran as captain was Mominul Haque. Mominul led the Test side to its biggest ever win in the Mount Maunganui Test and help start Bangladesh’s pace revolution.

But his captaincy tenure ended in a disastrous manner, with him becoming a shadow of his former self as a batter, stepping down as captain as he couldn’t take the pressure any longer and eventually losing his place in the team.

Litton is currently enjoying a stable period in the Bangladesh side where his position in the team is secured. But the pressure of captaincy can dry out the runs for a batter very quickly which can lead to the ousting from the team, much like Mominul Haque.

Mehidy Hasan Miraz

Mehidy Hasan Miraz
Prothom Alo

Strength: Not a star player

When Mehidy Hasan Miraz came into the national team from the Under-19 level, expectations surrounding the all-rounder were huge.

The first expectation was that he will evolve into the next Shakib Al Hasan for Bangladesh. Secondly, he will become a captain of the Bangladesh team.

Miraz is a natural captain, who led Bangladesh to the semifinal in the Under-19 World Cup at home back in 2016.

So far in his international career, Miraz has fallen short of the first expectation as he has become more of an off-spinner who can bat a bit rather than a complete all-rounder like Shakib.

But his infectious energy on the field, his attitude during matches and his fighting mentality during difficult circumstances on the field is there for all to see.

Also, although Miraz is an important member of the ODI team, he is still not considered a ‘star’ player. Many teams in the past have benefited by giving captaincy to a player who was not the biggest player in the team, like Graeme Smith in South Africa, Steven Fleming in New Zealand. If Miraz, the unlikeliest of the three candidates, gets the job he will get a chance to join that list and fulfill a long-held expectation of many.

Weakness: Place in team not fixed

Miraz is currently the preferred off-spinner in the team and usually bats at No.8 or 7. But his position in the team is not fixed.

He is still not considered good enough as a slogger to play the finisher’s role at No.7 and is unlikely to get a chance to bat at the middle-order, which would suit his batting style more, as there is no vacancy.

The fact that he is an off-spinner also goes against him as the management would be tempted to not play him at all if the opposition team doesn’t have any left-handers in the batting line-up.

Opportunity: Same as Litton

Naming Miraz the captain presents the same opportunity as the appointment of Litton would.

Liton Das and Mehidy Hasan Miraz enjoy some fruits during a break in training
Prothom Alo

Threat: Hamper team’s flexibility

If Miraz is named captain, he would of course have to play in every match.

This will handicap Bangladesh’s flexibility in the World Cup, forcing them to go with a spinner on pitches where they would benefit more from having an extra pacer or hurt them against teams which don’t have many left-handers in the batting line-up.

But if he is picked as captain, he can’t be dropped. And this would put Bangladesh in a clear disadvantage.