Bangladesh have dropped Mahmudullah in one of four changes to the squad for the one-off Test against Zimbabwe next week. Rubel Hossain, Al-Amin Hossain and Soumya Sarkar have been axed, while there were comebacks for Mushfiqur Rahim, Taskin Ahmed, Mehidy Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman. Rookie medium-pacer Hasan Mahmud and batsman Yasir Ali have also earned their first Test call-ups.
Chief selector Minhajul Abedin suggested that senior batsman Mahmudullah needed a break from red-ball cricket, after scoring just one half-century in his last ten Test innings, before which he had hit centuries in back-to-back Tests in Dhaka, against West Indies, and in Hamilton.
“We felt that Mahmudullah needed a break from the red ball,” he said. “Al-Amin has niggles and that’s why we thought he should be given the time to be fully ready for the limited-overs matches [three ODIs and two T20Is] where he is more important. Rubel is not part of our red-ball plans for the moment. Soumya had applied for a leave and therefore has not been considered.
“I believe we have selected the best possible Test squad under present circumstances. There is a very nice blend of experience and potential. It is unfortunate that some players had to miss out but our priority has been to ensure balance and continuity.”
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About the two newcomers, Minhajul said, “We think Hasan Mahmud and Yasir Ali Chowdhury have tremendous potential and they are very much part of our future plans. Yasir is from our high-performance squad, and he has done well in the BCL recently. We want to develop upon his potential.”
Yasir has averaged 60.28 in five first-class matches in the last 12 months, while Mahmud has been picked based on his potential even though his recent form hasn’t been great: he has picked up only six wickets in three matches at an average of 40.83 in the last year.
Meanwhile, Mushfiqur has returned after opting out of the Pakistan Tests because of security concerns. Mehidy and Taskin have been recalled after regaining full fitness following injury layoffs, and Mustafizur convinced the selectors of his ability in the long-form game with six wickets in Central Zone’s last Bangladesh Cricket League game.
“We picked Taskin as we need a consistently quick bowler,” Minhajul said. “I believe his fitness problem during the BCL is now over.”