Litton, Mustafizur target maiden ODI caps
Both Mustafizur Rahman and Litton Das have had their international debuts out of the way, but a bigger test awaits them in the ODI series against India. Bangladesh's emphasis on finishing within the top eight to qualify for the 2017 Champions Trophy makes the three-match series that much more significant. The top seven sides in the world, plus hosts England, will compete at the next global 50-overs tournament and the cut-off date for qualification is September 30, 2015.
With Bangladesh having their most settled line-up in ODIs to add to availability of plenty of choices, it will be a challenge for Mustafizur and Litton to make the XI for the first ODI on Thursday.
Mushfiqur Rahim has already said he has recovered from his finger injury to keep wicket in the ODI series, while Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain are the first-choice seamers alongside captain Mashrafe Mortaza. This means that the series could well start as an educational one for Mustafizur.
Litton, however, could be included is if he his chosen ahead of Rony Talukdar to open with Tamim Iqbal in the event of Soumya Sarkar being asked to drop down to No 3. Otherwise it could be either of Litton or Talukdar at No. 3, in which case Litton, who kept wickets and scored an enterprising 44 against India in the lone Test in Fatullah, will edge ahead.
Litton still wouldn't know whether he is going to get his maiden ODI cap on Thursday, but he was somewhat disappointed at not making a bigger score in Fatullah. He took to the India attack, even going after R Ashwin, their best bowler on show.
"The innings was okay," Litton said. "My target was to avoid the follow-on, maybe play a bigger innings for the team. I wanted to take the team to a better position. It was bad luck that I couldn't do it.
"I just played to the merit of the ball. I figured it (six off Ashwin) was there to hit, so I went for it. I think everyone is a bit tense when they are making their debut but it was fine for me."
Mustafizur also made an encouraging debut in April during the T20 against Pakistan. He took the wickets of Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi and looked quite composed. Mustafizur has said that he wants to channel that little experience into his selection for the India ODIs.
"There was a lot of praise after I did well against Pakistan," Mustafizur told BDnews24.com. "I hoped to get called up to the ODI side against India from that time. I got called up in the preliminary squad which raised my hopes further. Maybe that's why I am feeling so good about it.
Mustafizur also said that his primary aim was to break into the playing XI while not focusing too much about India.
"I know they bat [India] very well. Pakistan were good in T20 too. I didn't do too badly in that game. But I am not thinking much about India at the moment. I first have to be in Bangladesh's playing XI. That is my primary goal. If I get a chance, I will do what I am capable of doing. I am not thinking too much ahead. I will try to bowl my way."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84