Major changes to Bangladesh Test squad unlikely

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Old 01-Jun-2015
Post Major changes to Bangladesh Test squad unlikely

Bangladesh are unlikely to make many changes to their squad for the solitary Test against India, which starts from June 10 in Fatullah. The national selectors, who met on Sunday to discuss the final names from the 23-member preliminary squad, are expected to submit the 14-member squad to the Bangladesh Cricket Board by June 3 and an official announcement could be made in a couple of days after that.

The preliminary squad has been training since the end of the Bangladesh Cricket League first-class matches, on May 27. The selectors were concerned about injuries to Tamim Iqbal (knee), Mushfiqur Rahim (finger), Rubel Hossain (side), Shakib Al Hasan (shin bone) and Shafiul Islam (hand) but the players have reportedly recovered after resting during the last round of the BCL

"We are definitely going to select from 23 fit players," chief selector Faruque Ahmed said. "Mushfiqur batted an extra hour on Saturday after everyone had completed training so he looks fine. So does Tamim, Rubel and Shafiul."

Apart from injury concerns, the two Tests against Pakistan threw up a few performance-related questions. Shuvagata Hom took five wickets and scored 71 runs in the Tests against Pakistan but a nine-wicket haul for Central Zone against North Zone in the Bangladesh Cricket League could keep him in the squad, despite an undefined role in the playing XI.

Soumya Sarkar had made just 70 runs in the Test series but had scored a scintillating unbeaten 127 against Pakistan in the preceding ODI series. If there was some concern about his position in team as the No 7 batsman, a knock of 127, which helped South Zone become BCL champions, will work in his favour. Mahmudullah too had made just 119 runs in the two Tests but again, his century in the BCL would push the case for his retention. Mahmudullah did well enough in the only first-class match before the Test in June, scoring a first-class hundred for Central Zone.

Jubair Hossain, Litton Das and Abul Hasan - who were in Bangladesh's Test squad against Pakistan but didn't play any of the matches - will also be discussed and at least two of the players seem uncertain of a place in the team. Jubair hasn't played a game since appearing for BCB XI in a practice match against Pakistan in mid-April while the return of Shafiul Islam in the preliminary squad means that either he or Abul could be picked for the India Test. Abul, however, took six wickets for East Zone recently while Shafiul's last competitive match was in February, after which he suffered a hand injury.

"I cannot talk about who we are considering. Shuvagata certainly has a good chance. He took nine wickets in the first-class match. Jubair is a concern since he hasn't played for a while so let us see what happens," said Faruque.

Litton meanwhile struck 38 and 74 for East Zone and could be kept in the squad against India as the selection committee has shown a willingness to continue with the combination. Rony Talukdar was in the ODI squad against Pakistan without playing a game while Nasir Hossain has been out of the Test squad since the West Indies series in September 2014. The latter hasn't impressed with the bat in domestic cricket.

Sabbir Rahman could be an interesting choice in the Test team as he has improved his batting in international cricket in leaps and bounds since his selection last year. However, he has been deemed a limited-overs specialist by the selectors.

Bangladesh's probable squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Shuvagata Hom, Mohammad Shahid, Taijul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Abul Hasan/Shafiul Islam, Jubair Hossain, Litton Das.

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