12:00 AM, February 21, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 21, 2010

Tigers back home

Ashraful may still stay put!

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Sports Reporter

Bangladesh cricket team was scheduled to return home last night after the series in New Zealand where some individual achievements by the Tigers hogged spotlights even in defeats against the Black Caps.
Shakib Al Hasan's men will hardly get any rest as they have to prepare for the home series against England who arrive here tonight to play three one-day internationals and two Tests.
But within this short time the national selectors, led by Rafiqul Alam, will have to reassess the top-order batting, which was terrible on the New Zealand trip, particularly many will be looking forward to seeing the fate of former national skipper Mohammad Ashraful who continued his poor form in this tour as well to make the tag of 'consistently inconsistent' even more consistent.
The general sentiment after the home series against India was that this heavyweight underachiever should be thrown out of the team for the New Zealand trip but the selection panel came up with the impression that Ashraful was 'indispensable'. But this time it was not only the general sentiment rather coach Jamie Siddons also pointed his fingers at the right-hander by saying that "We might have to reassess Ashraful when we get back".
Chief selector Rafiqul however was not ready to single out any player for the top-order failure and he was also against any changes in the team which, he believed, had been playing good and competitive cricket over the last sixteen months.
"I am not in favour of any major changes in the team. We go for change only if it's needed for condition. This young team has been playing good and competitive cricket because of collective effort. We are a bit concerned about the top-order batting but we can't blame only one player for this failure," said Rafiqul when asked about Ashraful's continued failure.
It seemed that the chief selector was ready to tolerate Ashraful further in the hope of a once in a blue moon performance.
The former national player was also happy with the outcome of the New Zealand series.
"Yes we lost all matches on the tour, but we only lost badly in the first two one-day matches. There were signs of improvement in the team. I am very much hopeful with this team," said a confident Rafiqul.
Due to hectic schedule the selectors were unable to give some of the top-order batsmen a chance in the first warm-up match against the visiting English which will take place at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium on February 23.
"Actually we don't have enough options to make up the team for the first warm-up game as the national players would need some rest while most of the other leading players are involved in the National Cricket League," said Rafiqul.
A 13-member BCB XI team was announced yesterday for the first limited-overs warm-up game with Shahriar Nafees named as captain.
Shahriar Nafees (captain), Alok Kapali, Imtiaz Hossain, Nasiruddin Faruque, Shaheen Hossain (wicketkeeper), Mahmudul Hasan, Shafaq Al Jabir, Tanvir Haider, Ariful Haque, Alauddin Babu, Tapash Baishya, Shamsur Rahman and Mohammad Sharifullah.

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