Shakib Al Hasan, who missed the New Zealand tour with a finger injury, has been named as the vice-captain in the 15-man squad for the upcoming 2019 World Cup, scheduled to begin on May 30 in England. The ace all-rounder sustained the injury during the final of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) and was ruled out of the entire tour of New Zealand. Consequently, he was given the no-objection certificate to play in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), but the all-rounder has featured in only one game for the Sunrisers Hyderabad so far.
Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan (VC), Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Sabbir Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Abu Jayed
The 31-year old all-rounder has replaced fellow left-handed batsman, Mominul Haque, as the selectors kept faith in the team that was whitewashed by a 3-0 margin in New Zealand. Tamim Iqbal is an automatic selection at the top of the order, but the southpaw has struggled to find an ideal partner.
Liton Das, who can also double up as a wicketkeeper batsman, struggled in the New Zealand ODIs, ending up with three consecutive scores of one. His batting average of 19.53 after 27 matches has meant Bangladesh have often struggled to get a start from their openers. However, the selectors have persisted with the talented batsman ahead of Imrul Kayes, who has the experience of featuring in previous World Cups.
The selectors haven’t made any significant changes to the middle-order with both Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman securing spots in the 15-man squad. Mohammad Mithun’s recent batting form earned him a maiden World Cup call. Mohammad Saifuddin and Mehidy Hasan also have received their maiden World Cup call-ups. Both of them bring balance to the side with their all round skills.
One surprise inclusion has been that of the 23-year old Mosaddek Hossain. The right-handed batsman, who can also chip in with useful off-breaks, found a place despite having last played an ODI for Bangladesh during the 2018 edition of the Asia Cup. Speaking about his selection, chief selector, Minhajul Abedin, said: ” Mossadek did well in (recent) domestic tournaments. We want an all-rounder who can bowl off-spin. Mahmudullah has a shoulder injury, so he may not bowl over there (in the World Cup). As a back-up spin all-rounder, we included Mossadek.”
Mashrafe Mortaza, the captain, playing in his fourth and probably final World Cup, headlines the pace bowling attack which also includes Mustafizur Rahman – despite the left-arm pacer currently being sidelined with a sprained ankle, which in turn should keep him out for at least two weeks. Abu Jayed, primarily used as a red-ball player, was picked ahead of Taskin Ahmed, who missed the New Zealand tour with a ligament injury. The 25-year old medium pacer has become a regular in Bangladesh’s Test plans but is yet to make his ODI debut.
Commenting on Abu Jayed’s inclusion, Abdein said that the selection panel wasn’t convinced about the fitness of Taskin and decided to look at other options. “Taskin played his last ODI in October 2017 and it was a long break for him. When we thought about him again for the New Zealand series he sustained an injury once again. According to the reports we have, he is not fit. He represented (his domestic team) in one match but his fitness is still not up to the mark.”
Abu Jayed was impressive during Bangladesh’s recent Test tour of New Zealand and he led the pace bowling attack with aplomb. With similar conditions expected in England, Abedin reasoned that Jayed’s ability to swing the new ball would come in handy. “He can swing the ball and we felt that can add value to our bowling attack”, Abdein said.
Bangladesh will start their preparations for the mega tournament on April 22 and the team is expected to leave for the United Kingdom in the first week of May. Ahead of the World Cup, they will be involved in a tri-series in Ireland, with West Indies as the third team, before playing warm-up games against Pakistan and India.
The selectors also named the squad for the Ireland tri-series with Nayeem Hassan and Yasir Ali Chowdhary as the two additions to the 15-member World Cup-bound squad.
Mortaza & Co. will begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa at the Kennington Oval on June 2.