New face is Dollar
Uncapped pace bowler Dollar Mahmud was the only surprise when the national selectors announced the teams yesterday for next month's tri-series at home and the Asia Cup to be held in Pakistan.
Wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, all-rounder Mehrab Hossain and left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain were recalled as stumper Dhiman Ghosh and Zunaed Siddiqui were ignored while all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan would be missing both tournaments as he is attending his HSC examinations.
Chief selector Rafiqul Alam announced the same squads at a press conference at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur with Mosharraf Hossain, who was left out from the team after only three one-dayers against South Africa, the only addition to the 15-member Asia Cup team.
The tri-nation tournament will begin with the match between hosts Bangladesh and Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur while the Asia Cup will start in Pakistan on June 24.
The inspiring performance in the Under-19 team followed by notable contributions in the domestic circuit including a hattrick in the National Cricket League impressed the selection committee to bring Dollar Mahmud into the national fold.
But in essence it was the injuries of two senior pace bowlers -- Nazmul Hossain and Syed Rasel -- which played in favour of the young Narail paceman's selection into the senior side.
"Nazmul was our first choice but he was declared unfit due to a groin injury and Rasel has yet to recover from his ankle injury. Dollar was the best available replacement for us because of his impressive showing with the Under-19s and in the domestic tournaments," explained Rafiq.
On the other hand, the axe fell on left-handed opener Zunaed, whose paltry collection of 41 runs in six one-day internationals, but Rafiq admitted that Dhiman was unfortunate not to be in the team.
"It was bad luck for Dhiman because Mushfiqur did exactly what he needed after being left out of the side. We had no choice but to pick Mushfiqur considering the team combination after Shakib left a huge vacuum in the top-order," said Rafiq while recalling Mushfiqur's run-spree in the domestic competitions.
But while Zunaed's exclusion could be justified, questions were raised regarding Aftab Ahmed's place.
"Aftab was reasonable in his performance against New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland. Most importantly, we don't want to break the unity and confidence in the team as the whole team's performance was not satisfactory," said Rafiq.
The former national player also explained the reason behind the inclusion of Mehrab, who returned home two days back from United States after cutting short his holiday. "He was brilliant with the Academy team and in domestic cricket with (Old DOHS and Dhaka)," he said.
Rafiq again reiterated his claim that they are totally against making frequent changes in the team and in that case, the players should have realised their professional duties.
"I want to be patient on the players but the first thing is that the players have to be professional and they have to do their duty in the right way," said Rafiq adding that his only expectation is that the Tigers will be competitive in the tri-series and the Asia Cup.
Selector Naimur Rahman informed the reporters that Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful, who is preparing for the HSC examination along with Aftab Ahmed, is ready to sacrifice his examination if it hampered his international commitments.
"His (Ashraful) entire concentration is on cricket and he assured us that he will sacrifice his examination if it clashes with practice or matches," said Naimur.
SQUAD FOR TRI-NATION
Mohammad Ashraful (captain), Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (vice-captain), Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Shahriar Nafees, Nazimuddin, Rokibul Hasan, Mehrab Hossain Jr, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicketkeeper), Mahmudullah Riyad, Forhad Reza, Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain and Dollar Mahmud.
SQUAD FOR ASIA CUP
Mohammad Ashraful (captain), Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (vice-captain), Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Shahriar Nafees, Nazimuddin, Rokibul Hasan, Mehrab Hossain Jr, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicketkeeper), Mahmudullah Riyad, Forhad Reza, Abdur Razzak, Mosharraf Hossain, Shahadat Hossain and Dollar Mahmud.