Rony called in for Pak series

National selectors have sprung a surprise on Wednesday by choosing opener Rony Talukdar ahead of Liton Das in the Bangladesh squad for the first two one-day internationals against Pakistan. Liton was widely expected to make the squad in place of out of form Imrul Kayes having scored runs consistently in all domestic competitions over the past few months. However, his 1024 runs in the National Cricket League at 85.33 and 686 runs at the Dhaka Premier League at 42.88 were not enough to convince the selectors to give him a nod. They opted for Rony, another prolific run getter, who was also consistent in both the NCL and DPL. The 24-year old right hander from Narayanganj top-scored in DPL with 714 runs at an average of 51 and followed it up with 777 runs in 11 innings at the NCL at 70.64. ‘We had to take a lot of time to choose one out of these two batsmen,’ said chief selector Faruk Ahmed while announcing the squad at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. ‘We finally decided to include Rony because of his experience. Liton is a very promising player without doubts and has been scoring heavily. ‘But Rony has been playing well constantly for last five to six years. ‘Apart from that he can play all kinds of shots and we are pretty impressed with that,’ Faruk said, adding that Liton would be considered for the other formats during the series. Imrul had to make the way for uncapped Rony after scoring just nine runs in three matches in the World Cup having joined the squad as a replacement of injured Anamul Haque.

Right-arm medium pacer Abul Hasan was also recalled after missing out the World Cup. With paceman Shafiul Islam nursing an injury, Abul was given preference ahead of Al-Amin Hossain, who had been sent back from the World Cup for breaking the team curfew. ‘Al Amin did not do anything significant since the World Cup so we decided to recall Raju [Abul Hasan],’ said Farque. There was also no room for left-arm spinner Taijul Islam in the squad. Paceman Mashrafee bin Murtaza was retained as captain although he will miss the first ODI on April 17 due to his one-match ban for slow over rate in the World Cup. Vice-captain Sakib al Hasan will lead the side in the first ODI before Mashrafee returns for the second and third ODI, those will be held on April 19 and 22 respectively. Pakistan will also play two Tests and one Twenty20 match during their month-long tour. All matches will be played at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in capital Dhaka, apart from the first Test which will be held in Khulna.

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