Afif's performance still not red-ball ready?
It was right after the Dhaka Premier League triumph for Abahani that Afif Hossain was asked whether he was interested in longer-version cricket given his sudden inclusion as captain of the A team for West Indies A's tour of Bangladesh. "Of course, why wouldn't I be?" came Afif's straightforward reply.
However, when his name was omitted from the third four-day match, speculation grew about why the captain, was dropped.
As it turns out, Afif was not dropped but had instead asked to skip the third and final four-day game due to exhaustion. "He wasn't dropped. Afif asked to be rested due to exhaustion," a member of the team management told The Daily Star on conditions of anonymity.
Afif's decision certainly raises question about his Test aspirations given that he has continuously made a place in the national team on the basis of his exploits with the bat in white-ball cricket.
While his first-class performance -- punctuated by five tons, three fifties and 1,361 runs -- does not portray an aversion to the red-ball format, his decision to skip the match brings into question his inclusion given his current frame of mind.
Afif scored 95 runs in four innings during the first two four-day games. But at an average strike-rate of over 100, he did not show the required patience. Coach Jamie Siddons had even spoken against batters playing 'too many shots' and 'not leaving enough deliveries' before the second four-day game.
Meanwhile a whole host of changes came in for the third four-day game with Mominul Haque, Yasir Ali, Nurul Hasan, Nasum Ahmed, Shoriful Islam and Mirittunjoy Chowdhury coming in to get some much-needed red-ball cricket exposure ahead of Bangladesh's lone Test against Afghanistan next month.
The A team fought tooth and nail to get a result against West Indies A yesterday in the second four-day game at Sylhet, but Joshua De Silva stood firm and secured a three-wicket win for the visitors.
Bangladesh did not add much to their overnight score, skittled out for 297, having added just 23 runs with Irfan Shukkur scoring 72.
Spinner Tanvir Islam and Saif Hassan created an opportunity, bagging four and two wickets respectively in defence of a 189-run lead and had West Indies in trouble at 150 for seven before Joshua's knock saw the visitors over the line.
The third four-day game will begin at Sylhet on May 30 but no captain has been named to lead the side.