Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has made a sudden change with the captaincy for the first match upcoming two-match T20 international series against Sri Lanka, scheduled to start on February 15.
Mahmudullah Riyad, who led the team in recently concluded Tests against Sri Lanka in absence of regular captain Shakib Al Hasan, will take the charge once again for the T20s.
Shakib was named captain in the 15-member T20 squad which was announced three days ago. But his finger injury which he sustained during the tri-nation final on January 27, ruled him out of the first T20 as doctors suggested that he requires more time to recover completely.Although it was expected that T20 vice-captain Tamim Iqbal will step up to lead the team but the board decided to stay for a while with Riyad.
Meanwhile, uncapped left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam Apu has been called up to the squad to replace Shakib. The 26-year old all-rounder played for Rangpur Riders in the last season of Bangladesh Premier League and his performance caught the eyes of the selectors which awarded him the national call.
Earlier on the day, Bangladesh National Cricket Team explosive opener Tamim Iqbal extended his support for the youngsters and insisted on giving more opportunities to these upcoming players. He voiced his vehement opposition to the culture of judging a player without providing enough opportunities.
Tamim took a stance of standing beside the youngsters during a post-practice press conference at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the capital on Tuesday.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) selectors called in six new faces in the squad for the first T20i against Sri Lanka. Following the inclusion of Nazmul Hassan Apu in place of injured Shakib Al Hasan, the number grew from five to six with Abu Jayed Rahi, Ariful Hoque, Mahedi Hasan, Zakir Hasan and Afif Hossain. At least 2 of them are set to make their debut on that match. Though there is a possibility that this number might increase.
Tamim feels that we should not be too hard on these youngsters. He also hoped that the debutants will not be judged based on their performance in their first couple of matches.
“I think that it is normal for a cricketer to not be able to click in the first couple of matches despite having performed regularly in domestic cricket for the last two to three years. To oust them from the team based after only two or three matches can’t be the solution. A player is selected only if there is potential in him. So, when a player brought into the squad, he should at least be given some opportunities. There is a big gap between international and domestic cricket and it requires some time to adapt to international conditions,” said Tamim.
Among the new entrants, Tamim was full of praise for Abu Jayed Rahi and Ariful Hoque. Both the youngsters have proved their worth in the domestic circuit and Tamim felt that they will be of help to the national side.
“I believe that Rahi deserved a special mention. He was the best bowler in last couple of edition of BPL (Bangladesh Premier League). Ariful has also been performing really well in BPL. We were looking for a finisher who can also play the big shots if necessary. Ariful is capable of fulfilling that role,” said Tamim.
T20 squad: Mahmudullah Riyad (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Md Saif Uddin, Abu Haider Rony, Abu Jayed Rahi, Ariful Hoque, Mahedi Hasan, Zakir Hasan, Afif Hossain, Nazmul Islam Apu.