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Asia Cup 2016: Tamim Iqbal given paternity leave, Imrul Kayes to replace him in Bangladesh squad

Iqbal has been given paternity leave amidst the impending birth of his first child

Asia Cup 2016: Tamim Iqbal
Kayes will be hoping to replicate the form he displayed for Comilla Victorians in the BPL

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have announced their squad for the Asia Cup 2016: Tamim Iqbal with Imrul Kayes named as the replacement for Tamim Iqbal who has been given paternity leave amidst the impending birth of his first child, ESPN Cricinfo reports. 

Asia Cup T20 2016: Full Schedule

There were no other surprises in the 15-man squad and is the only change from the Bangladesh side that was announced for the T20 World Cup that immediately follows the Asia Cup, which will be staged in Bangladesh in the T20 format for the first time in its history. 

Kayes, a left-handed opening batsman, who can handle wicket-keeping duties as well, made a comeback to the national T20 team after a gap of nearly four years in November 2015 featuring in the 2nd T20I at Dhaka which the visitors went on to win. He made two further appearances against the same team in February 2015, which also ended up in losses for the team and at a personal level as well. 

However, in between those outings, Kayes impressed with his performances for the Comilla Victorians in the 2015-16 season of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).  He scored 312 runs in 12 matches at a strike rate of 114.70 finishing up as the second highest run-getter in the tournament that his side won. 

His international failures notwithstanding, Bangladeshi fans will be hopeful that Kayes can reproduce the kind of form he displayed for his BPL franchise and give the side a huge boost ahead of the World T20 event. 

However, Bangladesh will surely miss the services of the experienced Iqbal who is currently playing for Peshawar Zalmi in the debut season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). The 26-year-old has registered three half-centuries and two 30-plus scores in just six innings for Zalmi but has decided to skip the Asia Cup event, putting his family first. 

The 2016 Asia Cup will be the 13th edition of the prestigious tournament and will be a 5-team tournament with the four Test playing nations from the continent – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – joined by one of Afghanistan, UAE, Hong Kong and Oman. The four teams will battle against each other in a qualifying round which begins on February 19 with the winner taking on the ICC full members in the main round from February 24. 

Bangladesh Asia Cup 2016 squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Arafat Sunny, Abu Hider, Nurul Hasan

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