Mahmudullah sweats it out ahead of Asia Cup camp
Hours before coming to the BCB Academy Ground in Mirpur yesterday to partake in an individual practice session, Mahmudullah Riyad had posted a story on his social media accounts. It was his first session since returning from Hajj, a session which garnered the attention of the media as well.
The batter had been curiously left out of the squad drawn ahead of the Afghanistan series and later it was known that he had applied for vacation and would join the camp after the Hajj. Before that, he had been dropped from the series against Ireland at Chelmsford as the team management wanted to look at some younger stars.
'Challenge your story,' Mahmudullah's social media post read, perhaps a hint that he was aiming for a fightback. The question being pondered by fans and media alike was whether Mahmudullah wanted to get back into the side for the Asia Cup and the World Cup.
Having retired from Tests and having been dropped from the T20I line-up as the management was in favour of preparing the T20I unit with younger players for the future, ODIs remain the veteran's most viable option.
Mahmudullah sweated it out at the training session, undertaking a 25-minute running drill followed by a gym session for 15 minutes. He then batted at the academy nets for at least 20 minutes before going through the grind at the indoor nets for about half-an-hour.
He, however, did not bowl. A crucial aspect of the current selection scenario is that the team management is looking for a bowling all-rounder at number seven position in the batting order. Whether Mahmudullah would be able to overcome his shoulder issue and contribute as a bowler is exactly what he would need to challenge in his story.
A BCB official, on conditions of anonymity, told The Daily Star that all-rounder has not been written off.
"He [Mahmudullah] can of course return but it depends on the management and the selectors' plan. No one can claim he is out of contention," the official said.
"He is also a contracted player and one would have to understand the scenario before reaching a conclusion," the official added.
Rumours are out there that Soumya Sarkar could yet land a place in the Asia Cup and World Cup squad if he can pull off performances.
Having struggled immensely to perform with consistency, the left-handed batter struck a ton in the Dhaka Premier League in May this year. He was then included in the Emerging Asia Cup squad in Sri Lanka, where he has bagged five wickets as Bangladesh A confirmed the semifinal berth.
Scores of 42 and 48 also see him now challenge for a spot since Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha already said at a press conference during the Afghanistan series that players that would perform in the Emerging Asia Cup 'definitely' had a chance and if someone scores runs, they are putting those names up for selection. Off-spinning all-rounder Shaikh Mahedi, too, has played a few handy knocks down the order while returning decent figures with the ball in Sri Lanka.
Star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and ODI vice-captain Liton Das have set sail to play in the Global T20 League in Canada with Shakib's NOC being granted till July 29 and Liton's NOC granted till August 10. Shakib is expected to play the Lankan Premier League as well, which begins on July 30. Mushfiqur Rahim and Taskin Ahmed are expected to return home before the Asia Cup camp, and as the players gear up for a return following their franchise commitments, media eyes would be on Mahmudullah and Soumya, and maybe to some extent of Mahedi, and whether they get into contention for that camp.