Axe falls on Rahim
Four newcomers including wicketkeeper Dhiman Ghosh have been called up in the Bangladesh one-day squad for the three-match series against South Africa starting in Chittagong on March 9.
21-year-old Dhiman from Dinajpur replaces Mushfiqur Rahim while all-rounder Mosharraf Hossain Rubel was predictably drafted in. Batsmen Nazimuddin and Rokibul Hassan, who had a prolific National Cricket League, were also included.
"We have preferred Dhiman as wicketkeeper because Mushfiqur Rahim is badly out of touch," said chief selector Rafiqul Alam while announcing the squad in Chittagong yesterday.
"He (Mushfiqur) is keeping fine but has not delivered with the bat. Dhiman is an aggressive batsman who is in good form. He has been playing for the A team and Academy team regularly and his wicketkeeping has also improved.
"We think he can be quite destructive as a batsman in the one-day form of the game," said the former national player.
Mushfiqur had a miserable run of 7,2, 15 and 4 in four innings against South Africa in the just-concluded Test series. But Mushfiqur was hailed when he replaced Khaled Mashud during the World Cup last year but has since only scored one half-century in his eight-match career.
Dhiman, who plays for Chittagong in the National Cricket League, made 40 dismissals in the first-class competition and struck two fifties in the one-day competition.
The selection panel were compelled to go for replacement batsmen after a Jacques Kallis bouncer felled Aftab Ahmed in the second Test. They however didn't have to look further than Nazimuddin, who made a scintillating Twenty20 debut last year in Kenya but failed to make an impression in South Africa during the World Championships.
The Chittagong batsman came back from the impediment to top the National Cricket League batsmen's chart this season with 720 runs.
"We suffered a big blow with the injury of Aftab (Ahmed) in the second Test and Nazimuddin is his replacement. He has a similar attacking batting style to Aftab and was the top run-scorer in the first-class competition this season," said Rafiq.
He also added that Rokibul was there as a back-up batsman. The young batsman from Jamalpur, who plies his trade for Mohammedan these days, scored three fifties and a century in the one-day version of this year's competition and is also the only Bangladeshi batsman to have scored a first-class triple hundred.
"He (Rokibul) looked good in the warm-up match in Fatullah against the tourists where he made 40-odd. He is also a solid batsman and a good fielder," added Rafiq.
There was little debate on 27-year-old Rubel's inclusion but the chief selector suggested that they considered an off-spin option for the all-rounder spot.
The fearful batsman of the 1980s said, "We also considered Mahmudullah Riyad as an all-rounder but Mosharraf Hossain got in through the sheer weight of his performance in domestic, A team and Academy matches."
The tall left-arm spinner was the highest wicket-taker in the first-class competition with 44 wickets in 10 matches and has also impressed with the bat, scoring 315 runs in the one-day competition for Dhaka. In the first Premier League match this season, Rubel smacked 86 and then took four wickets for Bangladesh Biman against Partex on March 2.
Left-handed opener Shahriar Nafees, who played his last one-day international in Sri Lanka last year, made a comeback after being overlooked for the New Zealand tour.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI for the warm-up game on Friday at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium against South Africa was also named yesterday.
Shakib Al Hasan with Nazimuddin as his deputy will skipper the team.
ODI: Mohammad Ashraful (captain), Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (vice-captain), Tamim Iqbal, Zunaed Siddiqui, Nazimuddin, Shahriar Nafees, Shakib Al Hasan, Dhiman Ghosh (wicketkeeper), Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain, Mosharraf Hossain Rubel, Syed Rasel, Forhad Reza, Rokibul Hassan.
BCB ELEVEN: Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Nazimuddin (vice-captain), Tamim Iqbal, Zunaed Siddiqui, Rokibul Hassan, Naeem Islam, Mahmudullah Riyad, Dhiman Ghosh (wicketkeeper), Forhad Reza, Mosharraf Hossain Rubel, Syed Rasel, Sajidul Islam, Rubel Hossain.