The ongoing tour of New Zealand has long been anticipated to be a crucial and testing one for Bangladesh. The Tigers are playing their fourth ever three-match Test series and their first in the hostile and challenging New Zealand conditions and, ahead of the ICC World Cup in England and Wales this summer, it was billed as a vital build-up for the mega event.
But when it came to team selection for the tour, the selectors have proven unable to cover all bases despite knowing the challenges that the team would face.
Regular Test skipper Shakib Al Hasan was ruled out of the ODI leg and much of the Test series at the last moment because of injury, but surprisingly the selectors did not name any back-up for the champion all-rounder.
Following Mohammad Mithun and Mushfiqur Rahim's injuries in the second and third ODIs against New Zealand, Mominul Haque -- who was in New Zealand as part of the Test squad -- was included for the third ODI even though he is nowhere near the list of probable World Cup players.
Since Mushfiqur was unable to recover from a wrist injury ahead of the first Test, the selectors retained ODI squad member Soumya Sarkar, who initially did not find a place in the Test squad.
With Mushfiqur also set to miss the second Test, there is no option available for the team management even if they want to make changes in the batting department as outside the eleven that played in the first Test in Hamilton, the squad has two spinners in Taijul Islam, Nayeem Hasan and pacer Mustafizur Rahman, and no batsmen.
Making the picture even murkier, first-Test hero Tamim Iqbal was unable to do batting practice yesterday after feeling some pain in his groin while doing the fielding drills. The situation will be near-critical if the left-hander's injury does not heal on time. The nature of injuries is such that it can happen to anyone else, and any batsman missing out will result in the Tigers playing with a batsman short.
Although head coach Steve Rhodes said Tamim's issue was nothing major, he did admit that it is not an 'ideal world'.
“Look, it's one of those things sometimes as it's never an ideal world but what was really pleasing in the last game was to see someone like Soumya come in and do so well. In many ways, he was the backup batsman along with Liton Das. Fingers crossed, we get through tomorrow's [Thursday's] session, which will be very light. They will all be ready and fit for the second Test -- the ones who played in the first Test in the top order, hopefully will score runs and then we could have some selection headaches,” Rhodes said.