Amid uncertainty over Bangladesh T20I captain Shakib al Hasan and following more than three hours from the scheduled time, the BCB announced a 16-member squad for the Nidahas T20I tri-nation series involving India and host Sri Lanka.
According to the national chief selector Minhajul Abedin Nannu, Shakib is still recovering from finger injury and will take another eight to 10 days to recover fully. With uncertainty hovering around Shakib’s availability, the selectors decided to name a 16-man squad with off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz as back up for Shakib. In case Shakib is not able to recuperate in time, all-rounder Mahmudullah will lead the side.
Meanwhile, with the inclusions of Shakib and Miraz, the squad in total has five changes from Bangladesh's last T20I squad that took part in the two-match T20I series at home against Sri Lanka earlier this month.
Right-arm pacer Taskin Ahmed, top-order batsman Imrul Kayes and wicketkeeper-batsman Nurul Hasan has made their way back to the Bangladesh squad for the shortest format of the game.
All-rounder Afif Hossain, pacer Saifuddin, stumper-batsmen Mohammad Mithun and Zakir Hasan and youngster Mehedi Hasan have been dropped.
Minhajul justified the bagful of changes saying the side are still working to find the best combination in the format.
"Undoubtedly T20I is the weakest format for us and we are working to find the best combination. We are trying to create a pool of T20I players and prepare the best team, keeping the 2020 World T20 in mind," informed Minhajul to the media Monday.
Taskin has returned to the side after missing the Test, ODI and T20I series’ earlier this year. Taskin replaced Saifuddin. Saifuddin found himself under severe criticism following below-par performance in the Sri Lanka T20Is. Questions were raised over Taskin's inclusion as he made a comeback despite not making any notable contributions in domestic cricket since he got axed from the national team.
Minhajul backed Taskin saying, "Taskin has been included by the captain (Shakib). He believes given the nature of the wickets in Colombo's Premadasa Stadium, Taskin's pace and bounce will be helpful for the team."
All the matches of the series, starting next Tuesday, will be played at R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium. The final of the series will be played on March 18.
Meanwhile, Nurul made his way back to the dressing room backed by his current form in the domestic circuit. The right-handed batsman leading Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club in the Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League 2017-18 season is the highest scorer after six matches. Nurul leads the board with 414 runs at an average of 103.5, including one century and three half-centuries.
Imrul got included in the team after contesting his last T20I for Bangladesh during their tour of South Africa in October last year. Minhajul informed that Imrul’s ability to face the pacers with the new ball worked in his favour, despite a poor record in T20Is.
Shakib al Hasan (C), Mahmudullah (VC), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Haider, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Nurul Hasan, Nazmul Islam Apu and Mehedi Hasan Miraz