Mominul slips quietly into the hot seat for Test cricket's toughest gig

We're missing Shakib and Tamim in India - Mithun (1:36)

Bangladesh batsman Mohammad Mithun lays out his thoughts on the two key players missing from their squad and the challenges of playing in India (1:36)

It was all rather sombre at the BCB's packed reception area on the evening of October 29. Shakib Al Hasan read out his statement. And minutes after he was done, BCB cricket operations chairman Akram Khan announced that Bangladesh would have a new Test captain - such was the atmosphere that there was no space for appreciation or celebration when Mominul Haque's name was read out.

"It was unexpected," Mominul, now Bangladesh's 11th Test captain, told ESPNcricinfo. "I never thought about it. I never even dreamt that I'd one day become Bangladesh's captain. But it was a great feeling after the announcement."

"I want to be an aggressive captain, which I feel brings more success. I think, according to the situation, I will be defensive within my aggressive mindset." Mominul Haque

Mominul's reaction was understandable. The Shakib bombshell had hit all the players, and the cricket community in the country, hard. Mominul's elevation came after that, effectively replacing Bangladesh's greatest cricketer in the longest format and chosen ahead of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, both senior cricketers and former captains. The BCB hadn't even thought of anyone else in a position of leadership while Shakib was around - they hadn't even named a vice-captain.

From a cricketing point of view, it is a fair decision, and well timed. Mominul is an established Test cricketer. Since making his Test debut in 2013, he has scored eight centuries in the format - only behind Tamim Iqbal's tally for Bangladesh - and he's the only batsman from his country to have a 40-plus average after scoring 2500 runs.

As a result, he has earned the respect of his peers. People often describe Mominul as one who has a clean image, and a quiet but strong presence. He has only played 36 Tests, but that number is also a reflection of how few Tests Bangladesh play. He was dropped as a limited-overs option four years ago, and while there were concerns that not being in the thick of international cricket regularly would hurt his quality, he has continued to score runs.

Mominul's plan now is to lead aggressively in India, with the first Test in Indore first and the second, under lights, in Kolkata.

"I like to play aggressively. I want to be an aggressive captain, which I feel brings more success. I think, according to the situation, I will be defensive within my aggressive mindset," he said. "It is not an extra pressure as a captain. It is a good feeling, an opportunity. I haven't brought anything into my thinking. I like to be optimistic.

"I am just thinking of representing the country, and doing something good for the team."

Having played under five captains in his international career so far, he hopes to take the best from each of Mashrafe Mortaza, Shakib, Tamim, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah.

"We have had different types of captains, and I will try to take different things from each of them," he said. "I have seen how each of them react to different situations, and I have certainly learned from it. How they handled those situations, whether they were aggressive or defensive. I can take a lot of good things from them."

But there's no doubt the task ahead of Mominul is extremely difficult.

Bangladesh have Mehidy Hasan and Taijul Islam, both spinners, as their only major attacking options. Mustafizur Rahman is in the Test side, but his current form doesn't inspire confidence. The likes of Abu Jayed, Al-Amin Hossain, Ebadot Hossain and others also might find it tough, if picked in the XI, against India.

The positives are that despite the absence of Shakib and Tamim, Mominul has Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah by his side, two seniors known to be accommodating towards other captains as well as younger cricketers. Expectations from the Test team are likely to be realistic, particularly against the top-ranked team in the world, that too in their backyard.

But, as the T20I side showed in the last week, it is a chance to make a statement. A draw in the opening Test will almost feel like victory for Bangladesh, and in Kolkata, it could be a more equal encounter since both teams will be playing with the pink ball for the first time. Nevertheless, India are the runaway favourites, and if Bangladesh do well, it will be against expectations.

That said, Mominul does have the opportunity to stake his claim as the long-term Test captain. Bangladesh will, eventually, have to move on from appointing only senior cricketers for the top jobs, so how he goes in what is arguably the toughest assignment in the format could give some pointers towards the future.