National team selectors left out former Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza from the primary squad for the one-day international series against West Indies, a decision which could end up being the final nail in Mashrafe’s almost 20-year long international career.
Bangladesh Cricket Board on Monday announced separate preliminary squads for the forthcoming three-ODI and two-Test series against West Indies, which will begin with the 50-over matches on January 20.
A total of 20 cricketers got called up for the Tests and 24 players got roped in for the ODIs, but Bangladesh’s most successful ODI captain didn’t get a spot.
Chief selector Minhajul Abedin termed Mashrafe’s exclusion ‘a tough call’ but said the board, team management and captain took the decision collectively as it was necessary to build a squad for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup in India.
‘It was a tough call. We all respect him for his great service to the country. But we have to address the reality and move forward,’ Minhajul told the reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Monday.
‘We collectively took the decision, Mashrafe had to be dropped. In this new journey, it will be a great opportunity for whoever comes and takes his place,’ he added.
The ODI series against West Indies is also part of ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, a 13-team competition where points will be allotted for bilateral series and the top seven teams and the hosts will qualify directly for the World Cup.
Mashrafe, who turned 37 last October, played in the latter half of the Bangabandhu Twenty20 Cup and was fit enough to play for Bangladesh felt national selector Habibul Bashar, but had to be let go to allot opportunities to younger players.
‘Mashrafe served the nation for 20 years. We all know how capable he is and he has been an iconic player for us. But as the chief selector said, we have to look towards the future.
‘He is still good but it will get difficult for him in one year, that’s the reality. In that case, we have to look forward and give opportunities to new players,’ Bashar said.
Shakib Al Hasan will make his comeback in international cricket through this series after earlier returning to competitive cricket with Bangabandhu Twenty20 Cup.
Shakib’s last appearance for Bangladesh was on September 2019 in a Twenty20 match against Zimbabwe, before getting a one-year sanction for keeping undisclosed contacts with a bookie in the following month.
Shakib was dropped from the BCB contract list for 2020 after the ban but will be paid according to his 2019 contract, where he was slotted in the highest A+ category, informed Minhajul.
‘For this year’s national contract we are preparing the list. Maybe by the end of January, we will submit the list to the Cricket Operations department. Until then, Shakib will get according to his previous grade,’ said the former Bangladesh captain.
The selectors also called up Under-19 World Cup winners, opener Parvez Hossain Emon and left-arm pacer Shoriful Islam in the primary squad, overlooked Twenty20 skipper Mahmudullah from Tests and the experienced Imrul Kayes for all formats. -new age
ODI: Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Nazmul Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Soumya Sarkar, Yasir Ali, Naim Sheikh, Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain, Shoriful Islam, Hasan Mahmud, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehedi Hasan, Taijil Islam, Nasum Ahmed, Pervez Hossain, Mahadi Hasan, Rubel Hossain.
Test: Mominul Haque, Tamim Iqbal , Shakib Al Hasan, Nazmul Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim , Mohmmad Mithun, Liton Das, Yasir Ali, Saif Hasan, Abu Jayed Chowdhury, Taskin Ahmed, Khaled Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehedi Hasan , Taijul Islam, Nurul Hasan, Shadman Islam, Nayeem Hasan, Ebadot Hossain.