But Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is not convinced by the players they have in the pipeline, with the board president claiming in May that they don’t have any replacements for the likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah. Hence, they must feature in every match Bangladesh plays, regardless the format.

Bangladesh has managed to continue with the same group of players in all formats for a long time. But this method would be impractical in the next five-year period for the Tigers.

According to a near-final draft of the 2023-2027 ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP) that got leaked in the media recently, Bangladesh are set to be the second busiest international cricket playing nation in the world for the next five years.

From 2023 to 2027, Bangladesh will take part in 34 Tests, 59 One-Day Internationals (ODI) and 51 Twenty20 Internationals, taking their total number of games to 144, just two less than West Indies.

These numbers don’t include the matches Bangladesh will play in the 50-over World Cup, the ICC T20 World Cup, Champions Trophy and the Asia Cup. The BCB is also free to organise further series for the Tigers in between the FTP mandated matches.

Moreover, Bangladesh is sure to no longer have the previously slated four ‘irreplaceable’ players available for selection.

ODI captain Tamim Iqbal announced his retirement from T20Is just a few days back and T20I skipper Mahmudullah had already retired from Tests in 2021.

Tamim said in the post-match press conference after the third ODI that the 2023 ICC World Cup in India could very well be the last dance of the ‘Fab four’ of Bangladesh cricket.

All four of them are in the final phase of their careers and will have already put up their boots before the forthcoming FTP cycle comes to an end.

Soon, Bangladesh will be faced with the task of filling in the gaps created by the retirements of the ‘irreplaceable’ four. But every problem comes with a silver lining.

In this case, the vacuum created by their exits will open up an opportunity to build different teams for each of the three formats.

Bangladesh has plenty of examples in front of them on how they can do it. Countries like England, Australia, India, South Africa and even West Indies have been doing it successfully for years.

Not forming different squads for different formats for the next FTP cycle could make way for the creation for another group of ‘irreplaceable’ players who will feature in every game for Bangladesh.

With such a hectic schedule on the horizon, doing that would expose the players to injuries, increase mental stress and could very well push some players to an early retirement.