As Bangladesh take on the West Indies in the first ODI at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada today, there will be two issues that the team management will be looking to settle. The first will be Shakib Al Hasan's replacement at the top order and the composition of the bowling attack.
While Imrul Kayes's recent form has almost confirmed him a spot in the precarious number three position, number four will be a three-way battle between Shamsur Rahman, Mominul Haque and Mithun Ali.
Of the three, the left-handed Mominul -- who has had a decent run this year as compared to his teammates and with 250 ODI runs is the third highest run-getter for the Tigers this year -- holds the edge. However, it's been Mominul's recent lack of form that has compelled selectors to think of a replacement. He had a torrid time during Bangladesh A's tour of the West Indies a few months earlier and was dropped from the side after scoring a disappointing six in the first ODI against India in June.
Shamsur Rahman made a good start in the practice game against Grenada with a quick 32 but failed to carry on. He will be Mominul's closest competitor. Shamsur though has had a haphazard year. He scored 133 runs in six ODIs this year, which includes two scores of nought. It would be a surprise if Mithun Ali, who only debuted in the last series against India, is picked ahead of the two. While Mithun showed promise in that series by scoring 26 on a Mirpur wicket that -- unlike its nature -- produced plenty of movement and bounce, selecting him over the other two could be a gamble.
The other issue for the Tigers to resolve is their bowling attack. Will they go with a traditional three-man spin attack or will they opt to include a third pacer?
While Mahmudullah's all-round ability is expected to grant him a place in the side, it is not yet certain if both Shohag Gazi and Abdur Razzak will play the first ODI. Statistics show that Bangladesh's spinners have generally had a good run against the West Indians, but with both Gazi and Razzak out of touch and the wicket at Grenada expected to generate bounce, the visitors might just include an extra pacer.
It will be hard to drop Taskin Ahmed after his brilliance in the last series against India; which would mean that he could well share the new ball with his role model Mashrafe Bin Mortaza. Rubel Hossain was not included in the practice game against Grenada, which shows that the team management is likely to go with Al-Amin Hossain if a third pacer is chosen.