The role of the senior players in a team is well defined. They are not only classified in the top category in the payroll, it is also an unwritten obligation on the part of the senior players to take care of additional responsibilities both on and off the field.
But ask Shakib Al Hasan, his first reaction is reactive rather than proactive. His argument was that the junior players are not in the side just to fill in the blanks but to play definitive roles.
“When a team has got 11 players every member has the responsibility. There is no difference between senior and junior. At the end of the day it's the Bangladesh team and if we win it is everybody's credit and if we lose it is everyone's failure. To me the issue of senior and junior is not that big an issue; everyone has a responsibility and I think everyone should take that responsibility,” said the Bangladesh ODI and T20I vice-captain during a pre-match briefing at McLean Park yesterday.
“We all believe that someone is coming into the side because he deserves to be in the team. He has a particular responsibility,” he added.
But when asked whether a senior player deserves more responsibility than a youngster by virtue of his greater experience, Shakib agreed, but conditionally.
“Yes, that is there. But if you think that the senior players will do everything then it's not going to happen. In that case you can play with five players. It is not fair to say that you have six junior players playing with five senior players and the junior players do not have a role to play in the team,” Shakib said a bit acidly.
He also said that he is more focused on contributing for the team than looking at personal goals.
“Definitely my role in the team is not to take five wickets and score hundred, and all that. Everyone has a role in the team and if everyone plays his role then we play good cricket. If you look down the years you will see whenever Bangladesh have won at least four to five players contributed -- in bowling two or three players and in batting three or four players. So when we all could play our role we can win. We are not a kind of team that has someone who has the ability to win a game all alone. Maybe we have got one or two like Mustafizur [Rahman] who has the ability to turn the game with his bowling. But as far as I'm concerned we have won with collective contributions rather than individual performance,” observed the premier all-rounder.
“Mushfiqur [Rahim] bhai has been playing for the national team for the last 10 years. He has got a different place and role in the team and he has established that faith over the years. Understandably when a new player comes in place of him that faith (assurance) will not be there. It is very natural. But we believe that whoever is playing for the team as a replacement, if he fulfils his role we can win games.”