Bangladesh Twenty20 and ODI skipper Shakib Al Hasan has been ruled out of the Nidahas Trophy tri-Nation tournament in Sri Lanka.
Although the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) dragged the issue till the last moment before confirming his absence the day before the team's departure, the ace all-rounder's unavailability for the T20 tri-series was inevitable due to the gravity of the injury to his left hand.
However the most curious part of the official press release was that Shakib had been replaced in the squad by wicketkeeper-batsman Liton Das. That is because during the announcement of the squad on February 26, chief selector Minhajul Abedin informed the reporters: "[Mehedi Hasan] Miraz has been included cover for Shakib in the 16-member squad."
When his attention was drawn to Liton's selection, Minhajul told The Daily Star over phone that Liton had been included in line with the demands of the team management; a very common explanation from the chief selector whenever a question has been raised about any unusual inclusion.
"The team management wanted an additional batsman and that's why we called up Liton," Minhajul explained.
Confusion and chaos regarding selection -- especially surrounding premier all-rounder Shakib following the finger injury he sustained during the tri-series final on January 27 at Mirpur -- has apparently became a routine practice from the selectors. The Tigers' limited-overs skipper Shakib had ruled himself out of the T20I home series against Sri Lanka just a day after he was included as captain of the 15-member squad.
Another interesting news is that Shakib will go to Australia for better treatment, but he will fly for Melbourne from Colombo.
"Three doctors in Bangkok gave different opinions and there is also the issue of surgery if physiotherapy fails to have the desired effect. That's why the board has decided to send him Australia. He will first go to Colombo on March 6 and then fly to Australia on March 8," informed BCB director and media committee chairman Jalal Yunus.
But the board must ensure one thing that interim head coach Courtney Walsh said yesterday.
"He [Shakib] is someone you have to give a lot of time if he is going to be fit to play. We will give him time; as long as he needs to get ready. Guys have to understand and work around that. When you have a world-class player like Shakib, you give him every opportunity to get fit," advised the West Indies legendary fast bowler.