Bangladesh will need a hospital very close to the Hagley Oval when they start the second and final Test against New Zealand today. With three key players including skipper Mushfiqur Rahim ruled out, a seriously handicapped Tigers will desperately try to avoid any further injury blow since they are already running short of men.
The BCB has announced a 14-member squad for what will be their last game of a demanding tour. Actually, they have got only 14 players available for selection in the tour party after Mushfiqur, opener Imrul Kayes and first-down batsman Mominul Haque were ruled out due to injury.
Interestingly the team management was compelled to draft in left-arm pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman, who is nursing a back injury, and young batsman Nazmul Hasan Shanto, who is touring with the team as a member of the development squad, as back-up players most importantly for possible fielding duties over the next five days.
When Mushfiqur and Imrul were ruled out in the morning before the training session on Thursday, it confirmed the debut of reserve wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan and the return of left-handed batsman Soumya Sarker in the Test team.
Both players were seen involved in intense batting sessions in the nets at the Hagley Oval.
Bangladesh were served with another shattering blow when Mominul, who was earlier cleared to play despite having pain in his chest, complained of being unable to move his body comfortably while batting in the nets. And his injury prompted the board to announce a fresh squad for the second Test in the evening. The board had earlier announced an unchanged squad for the second Test, keeping Mustafizur and Shanto out of it.
The injury to Mominul, the key one-down batsman of the team, actually left Bangladesh with one batsman short. They have got two additional pacers in Rubel Hossain and Mustafizur but no batsman to fill the void left by Mominul.
And it will not be a surprise if young Shanto, a member of the Bangladesh Under-19 team, makes an unlikely Test debut unless the team management considers an additional pacer to bolster the current three-pronged seam attack.
The acute injury scenario is something Bangladesh have hardly faced away from home. With so many injuries in the team after that bouncer-filled first Test at Wellington, the popular jibe that dominated the mood going into the second Test was: “Sorry, I won't be available for selection. I think the manager or the media manager of the team should be next in line for selection.”