Bangladesh on Tuesday announced a 16-member T20 squad for a three-match T20I series against Pakistan starting on November 19.
Four new faces have been included in this squad, which is clearly manifesting that the Tigers are keeping an eye on the future.
Among the players who were part of the Bangladesh squad in the T20 World Cup 2021, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Rubel Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Saifuddin have been left out of Pakistan series.
Bangladesh included right-handed opener Saif Hassan, right-handed batter Yasir Ali, wicketkeeper-batter Akbar Ali and right-handed pacer Shohidul Islam in the squad. Among them, Saif has the experience of playing a few Tests, but the others are yet to don a national team jersey.
“The performance in the World Cup was disastrous for us,” chief selector Minhajul Abedin Nannu told the media on Tuesday. “So we have to find some new players to open the new possibilities, and this format is the place where we can make some quick changes. I believe that the new players are all set for some international exposure.”
Along with Saif, Yasir has been around the national team for a while now. He has been performing well in the domestic circuit for the last few years, which was enough to consider him in the new-look T20 team. But the inclusion of Akbar and Shohidul came as surprise.
Akbar was the captain of the Bangladesh team that won the ICC U-19 World Cup in 2020. He has been playing some good cricket at the domestic level, but there was no space for him in the national team given the current team combination. But the absence of Mushfiqur and Liton together paved a way for him as a backup wicketkeeper-batter.
“In the current setup, Sohan (Nurul Hasan) is our number one wicketkeeper. There is no wicketkeeper in the squad without him. So we thought that Akbar is the best option in this position. The team management can play him if they want to. He has a good chance of making it to the playing XI if our main wicketkeeper gets injured. And at the same time, we want to make him prepared for the future,” Minhajul said.
Akbar played 29 T20 matches so far and scored 337 at an average of 21.06 and a strike rate of 126.69 with a highest of 45 not out.
Right-arm pacer Rubel was added to Bangladesh’s touring party during the World Cup as a standby player. But he was included later to the main squad after an injury to Saifuddin. Rubel came back after the World Cup without playing any match. It was expected that he would make it to the squad against Pakistan, but the selectors thought otherwise giving a chance to Shohidul.
Shohidul played 37 T20s and bagged 54 wickets with four four-wicket hauls. He is one of the best bowlers in Bangladesh’s domestic circuit who has been playing really good cricket. But that he w0uld get a chance in the national team so soon, maybe Shahidul himself did not expect it.
Along with these new players, Bangladesh called up Aminul Islam Biplob as well. The legspinner did not get enough chances previously despite being one of the best legspinners in the country.
“Biplob was on our radar,” Minhajul said. “I think we need a legspinner in our T20 setup. The team management can rely on him.”