Bangladesh Announced Squad for Nidahas trophy 2018 Tri-series

After a lot of speculation, drama and an attempt to convince ODI skipper Mashrafe Mortaza to reconsider his T20 retirement, Shakib Al Hasan has been named captain for the tri-series that also involves Sri Lanka and India starting on March 6th in Sri Lanka . Shakib's inclusion comes with a rider though - the BCB medical board has made it clear that he won't be available for the opening two games of the tournament as he is still struggling with a sore finger.

With the uncertainty surrounding Shakib and Mashrafe's unwillingness to come back, the team announcement got delayed. Shakib sustained an injury to his left hand during the tri-nation ODI series final in January and later had to receive stitches. The 30-year-old, who was named the Test and T20I skipper of the national team for the Sri Lanka series in February, was subsequently ruled out of the two-match Test series with Mahmudullah leading in his place.

Shakib missed the following 2-match T20 series as well, preferring to rest so that he could be available for the Nidahas Trophy. Mahmudullah led the T20I side as well.

It is reliably learnt that Shakib wasn't too keen to play on with the injury but BCB president Nazmul Hasan seems to have convinced him. Nazmul said that there is no guarantee when he will be available but had to include him taking everything into consideration. "He might be available for one or two matches," he said.

"There is no problem when he bowls but the finger get sore when he bats and probably he will not be available for the opening matches."

Bangladesh Squad for Nidahas trophy:
Shakib Al Hasan (c), Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Abu Jayed, Taskin Ahmed, Imrul Kayes, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Abu Haider Rony

There were five changes to the side that last played the 2-match T20 series against Sri Lanka. Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Nurul Hasan and Mehidy Hasan come in while Mohammad Saifuddin, Zakir Hasan, Atif Hossain and Mohammad Mithun who were a part of the T20I series find themselves out of favor.

Eyebrows were raised after the selection of Imrul Kayes who has 119 runs in 14 T20Is with a dreadful average of 9.15. In those 14 innings, Kayes has four ducks. Against this backdrop, chief selector Minhajul Abedin had a tough time in the press conference.
"He is included as our third opener," Abedin justified Kayes's inclusion. "We want someone who is good against fast bowlers and because he is playing Tests he is expected to be good against pace bowlers. There will be lot of pace bowlers in those conditions so we picked him as the third opener. We also considered his experience at international level."

Another batsman whose selection caused a flutter has been that of Sabbir Rahman. In his last six T20I innings, Sabbir has a paltry total of 78 runs without a fifty. Even though stats go against him, Abedin reckoned that he was experienced enough and that playing in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) should hopefully help him overcome his bad form.

"If you see the T20 record of last one year you will find that he is our highest scorer in this format," Abedin said. "In that sense he has lot of experience. That's why we have included him and he is playing in the PSL, just hope he returns to form over there."

Speaking about team selection, Minhajul Abedin asserted that they picked players suited for the pitches and conditions in Sri Lanka. "We have included some experienced campaigners," he said.
"As it is expected pacers will play a part so we picked Imrul [Kayes] considering his international experience. As the matches will be played in Premadasa we needed someone who can bowl fast and Taskin [Ahmed] returned fulfilling the criterion," he added.

Abedin also felt the need to develop a strong pool of players ready for the 2020 T20 WC and the committee were in the process of identifying that core group by giving youngsters a chance.

"We are not good performers in T20Is and that is why we have a plan with the World Cup in mind," he said. "If we can create a pool of 18 players for this format it will be good for us. I am hopeful they will perform well in the tournament"
Meanwhile current bowling coach Courtney Walsh will act as head coach for the tri-series. Walsh takes over from Zimbabwe-born Richard Halsall - who was appointed interim head coach after Chandika Hathurasingha took over Sri Lanka's national team. Halsall had acted as Bangladesh's fielding and assistant coach since mid-2014. He was appointed as head coach after the board failed to find a replacement for Hathurasingha before the ODI tri-series in January.

With, Walsh taking over on an interim basis, the future of Richard Halsall as of now is unclear, but he is expected to be with the team during the tournament. Khaled Mahmud - the former Bangladesh all-rounder, who performed the role of technical director returns back to his usual post of team manager of the Tigers.
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