Shakib Al Hasan will be leading the Bangladesh squad in the upcoming tri-nation Nidahas Trophy starting from March 6 in Sri Lanka despite doubts persisting over his participation in the first few games as he was yet to fully recover from his injury when the selectors announced the 16-member squad for the series yesterday.
According to sources, Shakib is expected to travel to either Thailand or Australia for treatment between now and the start of the series, and may even join the team in Sri Lanka after the start of the triangular. According to Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan, Mahmudullah Riyad will lead the side in Shakib's absence.
Chief selector Minhajul Abedin had to face a lot of questions over selection as they included pacer Taskin Ahmed, Imrul Kayes and Mehedi Hasan Miraz, who was included as the 16th member as the cover for Shakib.
From the squad that played the two T20Is against Sri Lanka, Zakir Hasan, Afif Hossain, Mohammad Mithun, Mahedi Hasan and Mohammad Saifuddin were left out and among the newcomers left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam, pacer Abu Jayed and all-rounder Ariful Haque were retained.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Nurul Hasan celebrated his comeback to the national team for the first time since the New Zealand tour in December 2016 with a hundred against Prime Doleshwar yesterday as the right-hander was rewarded for his magnificent run in the ongoing Dhaka Premier League for Sheikh Jamal.
Imrul, meanwhile, averages 9.15 in 14 T20Is over eight years and when asked the reason behind the left-hander's inclusion, Minhajul came up with an inexplicable answer.
“Imrul is the third opener and as he opens in Test cricket we are looking for someone who can play fast bowlers well. The Sri Lankan conditions are likely to assist the seamers where India also plays with quite a few pacers in the side,” said Minhajul.
He went on to add that the selectors are banking on Imrul's experience, keeping the recent disappointing home series against Sri Lanka in mind.
There were many questions over Taskin's inclusion as the fast bowler has not performed notably recently. Minhajul informed that Taskin's inclusion was skipper Shakib's choice and later added that it was also the decision of the team management.
"The captain said that since we are playing at the Premadasa where the ground is large and we need someone quick, we picked Taskin who has the ability to bowl yorkers and bouncers. Among all the fast bowlers in Bangladesh, Taskin is the fastest. The team management has a plan for him,” Minhajul said.
The chief selector also had to contend with a volley of questions about Sabbir Rahman, who has managed to score just 10, 2, 0, 1 and 1 in his last five international outings.
“If you look at his record of the last year he was the highest run getter in T20Is among the Bangladeshi batsmen,” Minhajul said. “He has the experience and we have considered him because we are playing against two experienced sides away from home. I am hopeful because he was also picked in the PSL.”
According to Minhajul the decision to try out youngsters was in line for preparing a set of cricketers for the next World T20.
Shakib Al Hasan (C), Mahmudullah (VC), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarker, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Haider, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Mehedi Hassan Miraz, Nurul Hasan, Nazmul Islam.