Bangladesh cricket board (BCB) has announced a 16 member squad for the only test against visiting Zimbabwe scheduled for 22-26 February 2020 at SBNCS Dhaka. The squad has replaced as many as six players who were in the lone test against Pakistan in which Bangladesh has suffered business as usual innings defeat in little over three days. Bangladesh is due to play another test against Pakistan in Pakistan in April, 2020.
Mominul Huq (Captain) ,Tamim Iqbal , Saif Hasan, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Kumar Das, Naeem Hasan, Taijul Islam Abu Jayed Rahi, Ebadat Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Mehedi Hasan Miraj, Mustafizur Rahman , Hasan Mahmood and Yasir Ali Rabbi.
Among the prominent replacements are leading Bangladesh middle order batsman Mahmudullah Riad, Soumya Sarkar, Rubel, Hossain and Al Amin Hossain. Soumya was in the test squad that went to Pakistan but was not in the playing eleven. Soumya for personal reasons has taken leave from BCB. Rubel was preferred over Mustafiz and Taskin in the Pakistan touring squad, played in the test and though expensive took three wickets. The reasons for omitting Mahmudullah and Al Amin have been assigned as being out of form. It was only a one off test in Pakistan and before that Bangladesh also played two tests against India in India and one test at home against Afghanistan. Bangladesh lost all the four tests by huge margin when few could perform. The selectors chopped and changed squad and playing eleven without any plan or policy. Great Bangladeshi all rounder Shakib Al Hasan is serving suspension term of ICC. Star Bangladesh Batsman for personal reasons announced his unavailability for Pakistan tour. Neutral observers have every reason to question the consistency of the selection committee.
In Pakistan every one knew it will be a contest of fast bowlers. The pace bowling squad sent to Pakistan had bare minimum experience. Abu Jayed, Ebadat Hossain and Al Amin Hossain in between played only few tests. Rubel is not a test bowler. Why Mustafiz was over looked. Taskin has started getting back into own form. If Mustafiz and Taskin were not considered good enough for playing in more true wicket in Pakistan why they have been taken now? Before the team left for Pakistan for playing the test there were talks about dropping Mushfique from the test against Zimbabwe. But those who had those weird thinking have eaten their words. In Pakistan all batsmen excepting a few struggled. Mahmudullah was no exception. In his long career he has served the team so well that he deserved another opportunity against Zimbabwe to recover his form. There will be opportunities for Yasir Ali in future. We do not think discarding Mahmudullah from the test squad is at all a smart decision.
The squad has four pacers in Abu Jayed, Mustafiz, Taskin and Mahmud Hasan and three spinners Taijul Islam, Mehedy and Naeem Hasan. What will be the nature of wicket? Will Bangladesh appear with three pacers and three spinners? How many batsmen will play if seven with Miraj included how can Mahmudullah not be included? There must be consistency, there must be a plan, there must be vision in selection.
Tamim Iqbal is still not in full flow. Saif Hasan and Nazmul Shanto are still finding their feet in test cricket. Mithun and Liton are not yet consistent in test. Mushfique is the only batsman in the team to rely upon. Mahmudullah requires only one good innings to get back into his form. Selectors may have to repent. Bangladesh will be surely in big dilemma again for selecting the team to Pakistan. Mahmudullah is too good a player to ignore so easily.
Hope Mahmudullah is experienced enough to bounce back strongly in ODI and T20 forcing his reentry in the test team soon.
BDST: 1757 HRS, FEB 16, 2020