Question mark over Fizz
Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha said before leaving New Zealand that it would take only 10 minutes to make a squad for the one-off Test against India once he gets the update reports of his three injured players.
And if that is any indication there is hardly any scope to go through a brainstorming session before announcing the India-bound team; instead, the focus is apparently only on the fitness of captain Mushfiqur Rahim, left-handed opener Imrul Kayes and top-order batsman Mominul Haque.
The coach's comments also indicated that the Bangladesh think-tank made up their minds to tour without pace sensation Mustafizur Rahman, who has been declared 'medically fit' but is still unable to bowl at full pace for unknown reasons.
22-year-old Mustafizur missed both the Tests against New Zealand, complaining of back pain, but Bangladesh team physio Dean Conway, after conducting all the medical examinations, came to the conclusion that his pain was more a mental issue than a physical one.
The team is expected to be declared today and it may be a 16-member squad, which is scheduled to fly to India tomorrow, as the selectors may prefer one more pace bowler in the team.
However, it is not Mustafizur -- who featured in the two ODIs and as many T20I matches during the long trip to New Zealand -- but the fitness of Imrul which is most concerning for the selection panel.
“We are yet to get the green signal from our medical team and physio regarding the full recovery of Imrul and we will discuss the matter tomorrow morning before finalising the team for the India tour. We are hopeful about Imrul but if he finally fails to get the green signal we will pick an opener in place of him. We have a number of options for the opening slot,” chief selector Minhajul Abedin told The Daily Star yesterday.
However, he did not disclose the name of the probable candidates.
The team think-tank is considering adding one more pacer to the side that includes Taskin Ahmed, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Rubel Hossain and Subhashis Roy. But that will entirely depend on Mustafizur. If the young pacer decides against playing the demanding five-day game due to 'pain' then Shafiul Islam, who bowled well in the National Cricket League after recovering from injury, may join the tour party.
On the other hand young batsman Nazmul Hossain, who made his debut in New Zealand following injuries to the three key batsmen during the opening Test at Wellington, may continue his journey with the senior team.