The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) yesterday officially announced their best possible T20 squad, sans captain Mushfiqur Rahim and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, for the 17th Asian Games due to take place at Incheon, South Korea this year.
Mushfiqur was excused for his wedding due on September 27 while Shakib is serving a suspension.
This means that the national players will be taking part in three international assignments in as many months and are not scheduled to get much of a break. The Tigers have already reached Grenada to begin their tour of the West Indies with the first ODI on August 20. The Caribbean tour ends on September 17. The Tigers will then have to go to Korea to take part in the T20 tournament of the Games which begins from September 19 and ends on October 4. Following that the Tigers will play three Tests and five ODIs at home against the Zimbabweans; who arrive on October 17.
Mohammad Ashraful led the Tigers to gold in the last Asian Games in 2010.
The squad has four changes from the Bangladesh team that is currently in the West Indies to play three one-day internationals and a Twenty20 International.
Apart from skipper Mushfiqur, the selectors have overlooked Mominul Haque, Abdur Razzak and Rubel Hossain.
All-rounders Sabbir Rahman, Shuvagoto Hom, Muktar Ali and left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny took their places.
A captain is yet to be announced for the team officially, but according to BCB insiders Mashrafe is expected to lead the side.
“As per the policy of the board we have fielded the best possible T20 team. We are the defending champions and we should be able to keep that title. Muktar Ali has performed well in the past so we gave him a go. On the whole it's a balanced side,” said chief selector Faruque Ahmed.
Sri Lanka is the only other Test nation to participate in the men's cricket event. They will also be sending a team for the women's event. Pakistan will be sending only their women's team. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided not to send any team to the event.
According to the Asian Cricket Council website, South Korea, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka have made their entries so far in men's cricket.
The squad for the Bangladesh women's team which won silver last year, losing to Pakistan in the finals, was also announced yesterday with five changes from the team that played the last Games.
The format of the tournament is yet to be decided.
Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Hoque Bijoy, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Mithun, Shamsur Rahman, Shuvagata Hom Chowdhury, Sabbir Rahaman, Mahmudullah Riyad, Nasir Hossain, Shohag Gazi, Arafat Sunny, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Muktar Ali, Al-Amin Hossain, Taskin Ahmed
Rumana Ahmed, Shaila Sharmin, Lata Mondol, Khadiza-Tul Kubra, Fargana H. Pinky, Salma Khatun, Panna Ghosh, Nuzhat Tasnia, Jahanara Alam, Ayasha Rahman, Fahima Khatun, Sanjida Islam, Sharmin Akter Supta, Shohaly Akther, Shahnaz Parvin