What's the story?
Bangladesh have announced their squad for the upcoming tri-nation T20I series in Sri Lanka. Notwithstanding concerns over the state of his finger injury, star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has been named captain for the tournament which also involves India.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have confirmed that skipper Shakib will not be available for selection for the first two matches of the Nidahas Trophy. In his absence, it is understood that Mahmudullah will continue to lead the team. However, the medical staff are hopeful that the left-arm spinner will feature at some point in the tournament.
BCB president Nazmul Hassan stated, "He (Shakib) might be available for one or two matches. 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."
During the final of the ODI tri-series at Dhaka last month, Shakib had sustained a finger injury on his left hand. With the all-rounder ruled out of the ensuing Tests as well as T20Is against Sri Lanka, Mahmudullah led Bangladesh to three hefty defeats in four matches.
The heart of the matter
Due to the paucity of feasible leadership options, BCB had hoped to persuade Mashrafe Mortaza to come out of T20I retirement and captain the side in the Nidahas Trophy. However, Nazmul Hassan revealed that the 34-year old could not be convinced to return to the shortest format.
In the 16-member squad for the T20I tri-series, Bangladesh have brought back pacer Taskin Ahmed and off-spin all-rounder Mehidy Hasan Miraz. Experienced opener Imrul Kayes has been recalled to the T20I outfit. Although his record in the format hardly inspires confidence, Chief Selector Minhajul Abedin felt that the left-hander's 'experience' could be handy against India's fast bowling attack.
Bangladesh Full Squad: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Hider Rony, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nurul Hasan and Nazmul Islam
Bangladesh will begin their campaign in the Nidahas Trophy by taking on India on March 8 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Their first match against the hosts will be held on the 10th. They will then take on India and Sri Lanka once again on the 14th and 16th respectively.
Considering that he is highly unlikely to play in the first two matches of the tri-series, Bangladesh's decision to name Shakib as skipper is a debatable move. On the whole, their T20I squad appears to possess a reasonable mix of youth and experience.