The BPL fever is over and the focus now shifts to Bangladesh's tour of New Zealand, which will start with a 50-over practice match against New Zealand XI in Lincoln today ahead of the three-match ODI series starting from February 13 in Napier.
The T20 domestic extravaganza however ended with the shocking news that Tigers' champion all-rounder and Test captain Shakib Al Hasan was ruled out of the ODI series in New Zealand and may even miss the entire tour because of a left ring finger injury he sustained during the BPL final on Friday. This is Bangladesh's second injury blow as pacer Taskin Ahmed was earlier ruled out due to an ankle injury.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief physician Dr. Debashish Chowdhury could not confirm whether Shakib would be available for the Test series starting from February 28 but there was a hint that Shakib may miss the entire tour when Chowdhury said: “An X-ray was done after the match and the results have confirmed a fracture on the left ring finger. The affected area will now have to be immobilised for around three weeks. We will assess his condition every week,” informed Chowdhury.
The three-week recovery timeline means that Shakib will certainly miss the first Test and may not reach match-fitness for the next two Tests.
The selectors were yet to decide about Shakib's replacement -- always a difficult task when it comes to a multi-skilled player like Shakib. A replacement will only be named if requested by coach Steve Rhodes and captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, who is currently travelling to New Zealand along with Tamim Iqbal, Rubel Hossain and Mohammad Saifuddin.
With Mominul Haque already in New Zealand as an early arrival from the Test squad and Imrul Kayes advised to take at least a week's rest after aggravating his back pain, there is no scope to send any batsman. Shakib was also the only left-arm spinner in the ODI side along with two off-spinners in Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Nayeem Hasan. If the team management needs a left-armer then Taijul Islam -- who is part of the Test squad -- may leave for New Zealand early. Another candidate is Nazmul Islam.
Bangladesh's first big challenge would be to acclimatise with conditions as soon as possible and change gears from T20 cricket to the 50-over game.
About today's practice game, the BCB could not provide information about the opposition, except for the name of the team.