No real surprises in WC squad

Bangladesh Cricket Board on Sunday announced a 15-member squad for World Cup, largely free from controversy, but without free from any interference on the selectors. BCB president Nazmul Hasan took the honour to announce the squad (first BCB president to do so), but not before delaying the scheduled press conference for more than two hours. Selectors had to explain their logic behind picking certain player to Nazmul and other BCB directors before their decisions were accepted. Nazmul said that they did not bring any changes to the squad submitted by the selectors, though at one stage of the press conference he admitted that he was given a 16-member squad to choose from. ‘I thought that I would just come and announce the team but the problem was that the board of directors, the coach and the captain were all present,’ Nazmul said. ‘The full selection committee was here, so we spoke to them as well.

The major challenge this time was a high number of options were available for us. ‘It became hard for us to decide who to pick. Everyone had a different opinion. ‘We have three spinners who have performed well recently – Taijul Islam, Jubair Hossain and Arafat Sunny. ‘So it was a major decision to pick among them. We had to listen to everyone. Secondly, we had to pick among Al-Amin, Shafiul and Rubel.’ Nazmul said no body was sure about who to drop, so they finally accepted selectors’ decision. Taijul and Sunny were chosen ahead of Jubair and while Al-Amin and Rubel Hossain were given the nod before Shafiul. Nazmul insisted Al-Amin was picked at the insistence of captain Mashrafee bin Murtaza while they had to turn down a repeated request of coach Chandika Hathurusinghe to include Jubair. The 21-year old batting all-rounder Soumya Sarkar was picked ahead of experienced Imrul Kayes and Shamsur Rahman as a back-up opener, though earlier reports suggested selectors were in favour of gambling with uncapped Abahani opener Liton Kumar Das. Batsman Nasir Hossain returned to the side after missing the recent home series against Zimbabwe owing to his 550 runs in 15 matches at 50.00 in the Dhaka Premier League.

‘The return of Nasir will add depth in out batting,’ said chief selector Faruk Ahmed. ‘Soumya is an utility player who can bat at the top order and his medium pace bowling also can be handy in Australian-New Zealand.’ Paceman Taskin Ahmed also returned to the side after recovering sufficiently from an ankle injury. But there was no room for left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, Bangladesh’s leading wicket-taker in ODIs with 207 wickets in 153 matches and most successful bowler in World Cup. Arafat Sunny, who claimed eight wickets in his last two ODIs, was picked before Razzak. ‘Sunny is a seasoned campaigner, who has been playing in teh top domestic tournaments for the last 10 years,’ said Faruk.  ‘But he was not getting chances because of Razzak.  Now he is in better form. Also we thought Razzak’s fielding could be an issue. In the World Cup the fielding will be intense.’ Mashrafee and Sakib were retained as captain and vice-captain. Bangladesh will play in Pool B alongside co-hosts Australia and New Zealand as well as England, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Scotland. They will start their campaign on February 18 against Afghanistan at Canberra. Bangladesh will hold a two-week long camp in Brisbane before the tournament where Shafiul Islam will join as stand-by player. BCB president Nazmul indicated that Jubair also could join the squad as another stand-by. The World Cup 2015 will be held in Australia and New Zealand from February 15 to March 29.

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