Despite the similarities of opponents and place, Shakib’s earlier tenures as Test skipper began in starkly different manner.

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The first tenure started with a landmark victory, a match still fondly remembered by the cricket fanatics of the country, while the second stint started with an absolute drubbing, a defeat that everyone involved in Bangladesh cricket would love to erase from the record books.

Saviour in St Vincent

Shakib’s ascendency to captaincy was sudden. At just 22 years of age, Shakib had to lead the side in a Test where Bangladesh’s maiden Test win in foreign soil was in the offing.

Bangladesh was up against a second-string West Indies side, after all contracted national team players refused to play in a protest against the board. Bangladesh national team was practically facing the West Indies ‘A’ team in that series.

Still, a win was anything but certain for Bangladesh due to their perennial weakness in the format and challenges of playing in foreign soil.

Mashrafe’s sudden injury further reduced Bangladesh’s chances as they had lost their leader and the spearhead of their attack at the same time.

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But Shakib showed maturity beyond his age and masterfully used his limited resources to lead the team to a 95-run victory.

Bangladesh went onto win the series 2-0 with a four-wicket win in the following Test in St. George. Shakib was the star performer of the second Test, claiming eight wickets and scoring a counterattacking 96 off just 97 deliveries to chase down a target of 215.

Nightmare in Antigua

In 2018, Shakib was once again chosen as Bangladesh’s Test skipper. But this time, Shakib’s appointment as Test captain wasn’t as dramatic. Captaincy wasn’t sprung onto him out of nowhere.

At 31 years of age, Shakib was also matured to handle the pressures of captaincy better. Expectations were high on captain Shakib but Bangladesh were set for a rude awakening.

West Indies pacers Kemar Roach and Jason Holder ran though Bangladesh’s batting line-up in the first innings. The Tigers got bundled out for 43, their lowest ever total in Test cricket. Shakib was one of the four batters to depart for a duck in that innings.

The fate of the match was set after the first innings but Bangladesh still had the chance to show some fight.

But Shakib failed to inspire the Tigers. West Indies piled on 406 in their first innings and then Bangladesh got bundled out for an embarrassing 144 to lose the game by an innings and 219 runs. This is Bangladesh’s biggest defeat in Tests in West Indies.

A demoralised Bangladesh couldn’t bounce back in the second Test, losing the match by 166 runs to lose the series 0-2.

In 2009, Shakib had to take on leadership duties in an emergency situation and in 2018, he became captain at a time when his commitment to the format was under doubt.

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This time, reportedly, Shakib wanted the captaincy. He has already assured the board that he is fully committed to the Bangladesh Test team and won’t skip series at random like he has done in the last five years.

At 35 years of age, this is also set to be Shakib’s final tenure as Bangladesh’s Test skipper. Will Shakib’s ‘third coming’ as Test skipper begin with a bang or in disappointment? The answer to this will be known in about a week’s time.

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