Mashrafe out, Shakib captain | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 01, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 01, 2010

Mashrafe out, Shakib captain

Young medium pacer Shafiul Islam (C) stretches during a practice session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday. Shafiul won a place in the final Bangladesh squad for the coming tri-series. Photo: Star

Keeping Shakib Al Hasan as captain in absence of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza the national selectors on Thursday announced a 15-member squad for the tri-nation tournament involving India and Sri Lanka.
ICL-returnee all-rounder Alok Kapali and pace bowler Shahadat Hossain were the other two players who failed to make it into the final team besides the yet-to-be match fit pace spearhead Mashrafe from the 18-member shortened squad.
The absence of Mashrafe, who has been out of competitive cricket since July last year, paved way for uncapped paceman Shafiul Islam to get a place in the final team while two other ICL-returnees Shahriar Nafees and Aftab Ahmed remained in the team for the tournament which will kick off with the match between hosts Bangladesh and Sri Lanka on January 4 at Mirpur.
"What we thought was that it would be risky for Mashrafe to play the tournament as he is not fit enough for a competitive match. He would have needed to put maximum effort on this type of surface and pressure would have been immense as well considering the strength of the opponents, so we can't take the risk with our premier player," said chief selector Rafiqul Alam explaining the reason behind the exclusion of Mashrafe.
The former national cricketer believe that the inclusion of Nafees and Aftab, who returned to the main team after fifteen months, made the team a bit better though the team without them played brilliant cricket in the last year where they won two Tests out of three and 14 ODIs out of 19 games.
"We have some problem with our top order batting and we believe the inclusion of these two players will strengthen the side. We have considered their current form as well as their past experience and what we believe is that Aftab is an asset for our team in the middle order and you know his gentle medium pace also is sometimes effective for the team," Rafiqul said.
"Now there is nothing called ICL," he added when it was reminded in the crowded press conference that these same players had a lot of complaints against them while they joined the unapproved Indian Cricket League (ICL).
In recent past Rafiqul Alam-led selection panel tried with number of pace bowlers and Shafiul, the 20-year old pacer from Bogra who was highest wicket-taker in the just concluded Premier League with 30 scalps to his credit, was the latest inclusion and chief selector was very much excited with the young paceman.
"Shafiul is coming through a process as he has performed consistently with the academy, A team and in the domestic competition and what we believe is that he is matured enough to take the challenge in the bigger stage. He is quite nippy and possesses a lot of stock balls and he can move the ball both ways," he said showering praises on the young paceman.
There are three more pace bowlers--Syed Rasel, Nazmul Hossain and Rubel Hossain-- in the side and Rafiqul said that their strategy would be totally different in this tournament than in Zimbabwe.
"It was our strategy to field an extra spinner against Zimbabwe that's why we played them with only one pace bowler despite we had four pacers in the squad but we have to follow a different strategy against teams like India and Sri Lanka," he said.
It would be a sweet dilemma for the team management this time when they pick the playing eleven as there are three contenders for the opening spot with Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes and Nafees and as well in the middle order with the inclusion of Aftab, who usually bats at the number three position where Mohammad Ashraful is now batting.
Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Mushfiqur Rahim (vice-captain), Mohammad Ashraful, Abdur Razzak, Tamim Iqbal, Syed Rasel, Rokibul Hassan, Mahmudullah Riyad, Nazmul Hossain, Nayeem Islam, Imrul Kayes, Rubel Hossain, Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed and Shafiul Islam.

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