Bangladesh cricketers stretch during their last practice session before Eid ahead of the West Indies tour as coach Chandika Hathurusingha (R) looks on at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. PHOTO: STAR
Bangladesh cricket selectors yesterday picked four openers when they announced a 15-member squad for the three-match ODI series against the West Indies. Left-handed opener Imrul Kayes returned to the side along with pacer Rubel Hossain after missing last month's ODI series against India.
The selectors made two changes from the last squad as, for the first time, a fit-Shakib Al Hasan, who is serving a six-month suspension, was ignored for selection while right-arm paceman Rubel, who was a surprise omission for the India series, made a comeback in place of Ziaur Rahman. The conditions in the Caribbean have prompted the team think-tank for a strong pace attack.
It was believed that a back-up opening batsman was included as Tamim Iqbal has been struggling with his form. Tamim scored a nought and four in his two ODI innings against a 'second-string' India side when the team needed some sensible effort from him after he had hit a low in the ICC World Twenty20 early this year.
Chief selector Faruque Ahmed however was diplomatic when asked about the additional opening batsman in the squad. "Basically we considered the condition. True that the Caribbean conditions have changed a lot in recent times, but still we believe that they will try to take their home advantage by offering us a bouncy track and you know all the opening batsmen have the ability to bat at any top position," explained Faruque.
"We actually compared the condition with our strength before selecting the team and kept faith in tried and tested guys. We have nine batsmen, two spinners and four genuine pace bowlers in the side and we believe it's an ideal combination for a tour of the Caribbean. We picked four pace bowlers because the conditions may deserve a strong pace attack and that's the reason Rubel came back," he continued.
There has been whispering over the three young players -- Shuvagoto Hom, Shabbir Rahman and Mukter Ali -- who had a decent performance with the A team during their recent West Indies trip, but Faruque said that they failed to fit in the selectors' desired combination for the tour where the struggling Tigers will try to bring back their sweet memories of 2009 when they won both Test and ODI series against 'depleted' West Indies sides.
The 'tried and tested' policy also retained the place for left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak despite his recent poor showing, but fellow left-arm spinner Taijul Islam stands a good chance to replace him for the lone T20I and the two-match Test series.
The team will fly out for the West Indies on August 13 and the three ODIs are scheduled for August 20, 22 and 25. The only T20I will take place on August 27 and the selectors will decide on the T20 squad when the remaining players join the team on August 24 for the Test series.
It is all but confirmed that Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Taskin Ahmed and Abdur Razzak will return home after the limited-overs series.
Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Hoque, Shamsur Rahman, Mominul Hoque, Rubel Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mohammad Mithun, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Shohag Gazi, Taskin Ahmed, Imrul Kayes and Al-Amin Hossain.