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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Struggling Bangladesh turn to Shakib Al Hasan to lead T20 squad against South Africa

Tourists have struggled on their tour of South Africa, losing both the Test and ODI series, and will look to salvage some pride in the T20s.

Bangladesh also have some fitness concerns regarding Shakib Al Hasan, who was keen to skip the Asia Cup to have a surgery on a finger. AFP
Bangladesh also have some fitness concerns regarding Shakib Al Hasan, who was keen to skip the Asia Cup to have a surgery on a finger. AFP

Shakib Al Hasan will be Bangladesh's third captain on a disappointing tour of South Africa as they seek to regain some pride in two Twenty20 internationals, starting in Bloemfontein Thursday.

Bangladesh's all-time leading all-rounder was reappointed T20 captain after a seven-year gap following the retirement from the format of Mashrafe Mortaza.

He takes over a squad that has already suffered humiliating defeats in two Test matches and three one-day internationals.

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So poorly have Bangladesh performed that Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim and one-day captain Mortaza were unable to hide their frustration in comments to Bangladesh media.

"I am not able to motivate my players or guide my bowlers," Rahim was quoted as saying after the Tests.

Mortaza said after the ODI games that "neither the batsmen nor the bowlers took responsibilities".

While Bangladesh's batsmen were always expected to struggle in South African conditions, the bowlers have been the most conspicuous failures on the tour.

In two Tests and three ODIs, the bowlers have taken only 23 wickets at a combined average of 100.21.

With no new faces in the T20 squad and leading bowler Mustafizur Rahman having returned home because of injury, Shakib appears to have the odds stacked against him.

South Africa, though, will be without captain Faf du Plessis, who suffered a lower back injury in the final ODI, which will keep him out of action for six weeks.

JP Duminy, who had a win and two losses against Australia in his only previous experience of captaincy three years ago, will take over.

The hosts have rested two of their leading bowlers, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir.

The South Africans lost a T20 series against Sri Lanka last season despite outclassing them in the Tests and ODI games.

With South Africa fielding an unusually inexperienced bowling line-up, Bangladesh's batsmen will hope to seize the opportunity to make a strong finish to the tour.

South Africa's batting looks formidable, however, and the Bangladesh bowlers will need to perform far better than they have in previous matches if they are to contain them.