Shakib is back! All-rounder in Bangladesh ODI squad to face West Indies
Shakib Al Hasan is back in the Bangladesh squad, which includes newcomers Shoriful Islam and Hasan Mahmud, as well as Mahedi Hasan, for the three-ODI series at home against West Indies starting next week in Dhaka.
Also in the 18-man party are Soumya Sarkar, Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain. Former captain Mashrafe Mortaza, who was left out of the 24-man training group earlier this month, as well as Al-Amin Hossain, Shafiul Islam and Mohammad Naim are among the prominent names missing.
When Shakib was named in the 24-man preliminary squad for the series, it marked his comeback to the national frame after serving a one-year ban for not reporting a corrupt approach. Shakib was Bangladesh’s Test and T20I captain before his ban, but has returned as an ordinary member of the side.
Islam is a left-arm quick who was one of the star performers in Bangladesh’s Under-19 World Cup triumph last year. Mahmud is a fast bowler who broke into Bangladesh’s T20I side last year, while offspin-bowling all-rounder Hasan has played T20Is before. All three also did well in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup recently.
Selector Habibul Bashar hoped Shakib’s return would add the balance to the XI that had been missing for a while. “Shakib makes it easier to make an XI,” Bashar said.
“Shakib and Mushfiqur [Rahim] are our genuine all-rounders, which many teams don’t have. We can always play with an extra bowler or batsman when we have these two players in the side. Shakib’s inclusion is going to help the team’s balance. He wasn’t around for a long time but I am hope he can return to his old form through this series.”
Bashar wanted the three new players to get comfortable with the dressing-room atmosphere, given that they are being considered as future prospects. “They have been performing well, and they are definitely our future prospects,” he said.
“Whether they play or not, we want them to adjust in the dressing room quickly. Hasan Mahmud and Mahedi Hasan have played for Bangladesh, but Shoriful is the total newcomer. We want to give them the experience, since we believe they are our future.”
Taskin and Rubel, who had been regulars even two years ago, found themselves out of favour in the last 12 months, but during the pandemic, they have worked hard on their fitness, and according to Bashar, it has been showing in their pace and swing. “They have been bowling quicker recently. Rubel is looking very good, and he has been swinging the ball too.”
As for Naim’s axing, Bashar explained that it was the return of Tamim Iqbal, the captain, that had worked against the younger player. “Tamim has returned so we already have a number of openers. But Naim is always going to be in our plans, and not far from the main squad.”
Bangladesh ODI squad: Tamim Iqbal (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, Soumya Sarkar, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hassan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mahedi Hasan, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam (ESPNCricinfo)