Mahmudullah, Mominul left out of Test squad; Nasir returns
Bangladesh have recalled allrounder Nasir Hossain, who last played a Test in August 2015, and medium-pacer Shafiul Islam, who last played in October 2016, for the first Test against Australia in Mirpur from August 27.
Mominul Haque was dropped from the squad for the first time since his debut in March 2013, alongside senior batsman Mahmudullah, who was dropped after the first Test in Bangladesh's tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year. Imrul Kayes, who batted at No. 3 as a replacement for Mominul in the second Test in Sri Lanka, was retained in the 14-man squad.
After the end of the Sri Lanka tour, Mahmudullah scored a match-winning hundred against New Zealand in the Champions Trophy and helped Bangladesh reach the semi-final, but his return to the Test squad based on ODI form had been unlikely.
Mominul was the subject of a number of questions during the press conference in Mirpur on Saturday. Chief selector Minhajul Abedin and coach Chandika Hathurusingha, who is also part of the selection committee, maintained that they didn't want to change the winning combination from the Colombo Test in March. Mominul's form in the last two Tests was given as a reason too.
"Mominul made just one fifty in the last six innings," Abedin said. "He was dropped because of his form. Imrul and Soumya are ahead of them. Soumya has four fifties in the last eight innings during this period, averaging 45.75. So that's why Mominul went below in our consideration. He is our first choice among those not in the team. It is not the end of his career because he is dropped for the first Test.
"Mominul is not unlucky because based on current form, others are ahead of him. There's less pressure playing in away Test than a home game, so we didn't take that into account."
Nasir last played against South Africa in 2015 while Shafiul played the Chittagong Test in October last year. The pair impressed in domestic limited-overs tournaments last season, as well as practice matches in the ongoing training camp in Dhaka and Chittagong. Nasir did well in the National Cricket League, averaging 109.33 in four innings, but in the Bangladesh Cricket League, he averaged just 30.87 in eight innings. Shafiul took 11 wickets in three matches in this season's BCL.
Hathurusingha informed that Nasir was picked as a like-for-like back-up for Mosaddek Hossain, who is suffering from an eye infection.
Squad for the first Test: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam, Mehedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mosaddek Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Shafiul Islam.
BCB XI for 2-day practice match against Australians: Mahmudullah (capt), Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Liton Das, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Irfan Sukkur, Mohammad Saifuddin, Subashis Roy, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Tanbir Hayder, Jubair Hossain, Abul Hasan
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84