When Shakib Al Hasan was handed captaincy of the Bangladesh cricket team for the first time in 2009, Jamie Siddons was the head coach of the Tigers.
Shakib had to step up as captain after regular skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza suffered an injury during the first match of a two-Test series against West Indies. A 22-year-old Shakib led the team from the front and ensured a landmark Test and One-Day International series win over the hosts in the Caribbean islands.
Siddons saw up close how a young Shakib handled the pressure of captaining the national side. Now, when Shakib is set to begin his third term as Test captain, Siddons is once again in Bangladesh’s dressing room, this time as their batting coach.
The Australian sees two clear positives of having Shakib as captain once again after Mominul Haque quit the post to concentrate more on his batting.
“I think there are two positives. Shakib is a very good captain and a very good thinker of the game. He is also a consistent performer. So, he will do a great job as a captain. Everyone follows him. So he will be a great leader,” Siddons said after conducting a training session for batsmen at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on Saturday.
Siddons is also hopeful that Shakib taking over as captain will help Mominul snap out of his bad patch, “The other good thing is that Mominul can now focus on his batting, in which he has been struggling a little bit. So, now he can focus 100 per cent on his batting. We need him performing. We know he is a good player and we need to get that back. It will be nice to see him without the weight of captaincy on his shoulders so that he can just a bit free with his cricket.”
Mominul was being hailed for leading the team to a historic Test win over New Zealand in New Zealand at the start of the year. But a couple of disappointing series against South Africa and Sri Lanka later, the praise got replaced by criticism. Mominul’s form also did not help his case as he failed to get into double figures in the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka at home.
Mominul felt that the burden of captaincy is negatively affecting his batting. So, he relinquished captaincy to regain his lost form.
Shakib was the favourite to replace Mominul as captain and as expected the Bangladesh Cricket Board handed him the mantle of captaincy for a third time. But Shakib has not been regular in Tests for a few years, picking and choosing which series he wants to be a part of. As captain, he won’t get that choice.
Doubts still persist whether Shakib would lead Bangladesh regularly in Tests. But Siddons has no doubts over Shakib’s commitment to Test cricket and he expects the all-rounder to excel in the role.
“When he is the captain, he will have to play. It’s pretty hard to captain when not playing. I think he is excited about the prospect of being the captain again. I think we will get to see a great example of leadership that we may have been missing for a while.”