Tigers given option to sit out | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 14, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:30 AM, February 14, 2020

Tigers given option to sit out

BCL third round begins today

For the past week, all the media attention was grabbed by the Akbar Ali-led team that brought home the nation's first ever World Cup, which they won by defeating their Indian counterparts in a thrilling ICC Under-19 World Cup final in Potchefstroom last Sunday. 

The champions have left for their hometowns and the focus now returns to the Bangladesh national side, whose recent performances have become a grave concern for the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).

The Tigers returned early this week after an abysmal showing in Pakistan. The Mominul Haque-led side recorded their sixth consecutive Test defeat when they succumbed to a thumping innings and 44-run defeat against Pakistan during their first World Test Championship fixture of the three-phased tour of the country. 

However, most of the side that played in the Pakistan Test, were not included in the squads for the third and final round of the Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) which is scheduled to begin in Cox's Bazar today.  

The next assignment for Bangladesh is a home series against Zimbabwe that includes a lone Test, three ODIs and two T20Is respectively starting from February 22 before the Tigers leave for the third phase of the Pakistan tour in April. And keeping in mind the busy schedule, BCB opted to give the four fast bowlers who were in the Test squad -- Abu Jayed, Ebadot Hossain, Al-Amin Hossain and Rubel Hossain -- a rest while giving the batsmen the option to sit the round out.   

"Most players [who played in the Pakistan Test] were given choices by the board about whether they want to play [BCL third round]. It was actually decided that the fast bowlers will rest and the batsmen were given a choice. The camp [for Zimbabwe series] starts on February 18 and the BCL will end on 17. So, the gap in between is very little," explained national selector Habibul Bashar yesterday.

The final round of the first-class tournament will see East Zone battle it out against North Zone at the Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium while at the Academy Ground of the same venue, table-toppers South Zone will square off against Central Zone. 

Only three players -- Saif Hassan, Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Nayeem Hasan -- who were in the squad that played in Pakistan will be playing in the final round of BCL.

Soumya Sarkar, however, has a different reason for missing the BCL. The left-armer will be getting married this month and will be unavailable till February 29. 

Mushfiqur Rahim, who opted out of the Pakistan Test, is however expected to play for North Zone today. It was earlier reported that Mushfiqur might be dropped from the Zimbabwe Test. However, Bashar informed yesterday that the stalwart is playing the BCL as he has not played the Pakistan Test and was an automatic pick for his BCL side. 

The former national skipper also informed that the situation about Mahmudullah will be cleared in two or three days' time. It was earlier learned that Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo will be having a conversation with Mahmudullah, who has been undergoing a lean patch in the longer formats recently, and would be asked to rethink his future in Test cricket.   

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