Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief selector Minhajul Abedin yesterday reignited the Mashrafe Bin Mortaza debate, namely whether he will come back to T20I cricket even though Bangladesh's ODI captain called it quits in the shortest format last April in Sri Lanka.
Speaking at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur about the upcoming T20I series against Afghanistan in June -- the dates for which are yet to be confirmed -- Minhajul was asked whether Mashrafe's recent form in the 50-over Dhaka Premier League for Abahani was reason enough to call him back to the Test side on the tour of West Indies in July-August.
"It is completely up to him and the board," said the chief selector about the pacer who last played a Test in June 2009. "We will move according to the directives [from the board]. If Mashrafe wants to play in Tests, he will play. But we want him to return in T20s; we need him more there.
"When a player retires from a format, you have to look beyond him. But even then, if he wants to return we will look at his performances and decide."
Rumblings about Mashrafe returning to the format, which he said during his retirement announcement that he was not particularly fond of, first surfaced in February. Then, after a cross-format hammering at home against Sri Lanka, BCB president Nazmul Hassan had said that he wanted Mashrafe back for the Nidahas Trophy that was held in March in Sri Lanka. Mashrafe did not return, and Bangladesh went on to turn their form around and reach the final, where they lost to India.
Five national players -- Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Taskin Ahmed, Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Nasir Hossain -- are currently laid low by injuries of varying severity.
"We have not received any directives about resting players. Every match is important when it comes to the national team; our best team will play against Afghanistan. I believe most of the players will be available.
“We have a medical team and [local] physios working on the players," said Minhajul when asked about the absence of national physio Thihan Chandramohan, who is currently on vacation. "I think everyone will be involved in the national camp two and a half weeks later. Our medical staff is working well."