Shafiul Islam, who had suffered a hamstring injury during the Bangladesh Premier League, took two wickets on his return to professional cricket yesterday in the National Cricket League (NCL).
The pacer bowled eight overs for Rajshahi, seven of which were bowled on the trot, and finished with figures of 2 for 34 on the first day of the game against Rangpur at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogra.
Shafiul was supposed to travel to New Zealand along with the rest of his national colleagues, but his injury compelled selectors to replace him. If Shafiul does well in the NCL, he might be selected for the Test series.
According to selectors, there is a good chance for Shafiul to play the second Test which is set to begin on January 20 in Christchurch.
However, Shafiul did not want to bother himself with the expectations of going to New Zealand.
“I played my first game today and by the grace of God everything went well. As of now, my body is working fine and I am feeling no pain anywhere, so that's a good sign.
“However, that is all I am thinking about. I don't know if I will play in the Tests or if will go to New Zealand. As of now I am completely focused on the NCL,” Shafiul told The Daily Star yesterday.
Rajshahi were bundled out for 191 in 54.2 overs as Rangpur pacer Mohammad Saddam scalped a five-wicket haul. However, Rangpur crumbled after the exchange, finishing the day on 89 for 4.
Meanwhile, Dhaka made a fantastic start against Barisal at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium yesterday. Bangladesh U-19 skipper Saif Hassan scored his second-first class century -- his second consecutive 100 -- to lead Dhaka to 300 for 3 at stumps.
Saif remained unbeaten on 131 after an extremely cautious knock, while Taibur Rahman was not out on 70. Opener Rony Talukdar was dismissed off the first ball of the day and therefore Saif had to bat out the entire day and he did so with plenty of patience, getting his runs off 265 balls.
Sylhet's Imtiaz Hossain also scored a century yesterday and helped his side coast to 309 for 4 at stumps against hosts Chittagong at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
While Imtiaz scored 134, Sylhet veterans Rajin Saleh and Alok Kapali scored half-centuries and supported the opener.
The game between Khulna and Dhaka Metro at Fatullah witnessed the fall of 13 wickets on the first day. Batting first, Khulna were bundled out for 207 in 61.4 overs, courtesy of Dollar Mahmood's five-wicket haul. With eleven overs to go, Metro lost three wickets and were left stranded at 37 for 3 at stumps.
SCORES IN BRIEF
DHAKA VS BARISAL
DHAKA: 300 for 3 (Saif 131 not out, Taibur 70 not out, Zahiduzzaman 57; Towhidul 2-45, Monir 1-77)
KHULNA VS DHAKA METRO
KHULNA: 207 all out in 61.4 overs (Anamul 62, Mithun 36; Dollar 5 for 53, Hider 2-44, Arafat 2-61)
DHAKA METRO: 37 for 3 (Shamsur 14 not out; Al-Amin 1-15, Ashiquazzaman 1-12, Ziaur1-3)
RAJSHAHI VS RANGPUR
RAJSHAHI: 191 all out in 54.2 overs (Farhad 59, Myshukur 32; Saddam 5-57, Ariful 2-37, Sajedul 2-46)
RANGPUR: 89 for 4 (Liton 41 not out; Shafiul 2-34, Forhad 2-32)
SYLHET VS CHITTAGONG
SYLHET: 309 for 4 (Imtiaz 134, Rajin 58, Kapali 56 not out; Nayeem 2-108, Tasamul 1-4).