Bangladesh v New Zealand 2013-14 October 2, 2013

Mahmudullah likely in squad for first NZ Test


Bangladesh's vice-captain, Mahmudullah is expected to get an extended run and retain his place in Bangladesh's 14-man squad for the first Test against New Zealand, which starts on October 9 in Chittagong. The allrounder has had a horrid run in the last two Test series and was dropped from the second Test against Zimbabwe in Harare.

Paceman Al-Amin Hossain and batsman Marshall Ayub are also tipped to be in the squad, while opener Anamul Haque is likely to return after missing the Zimbabwe tour due to college exams.

Mahmudullah's place would have been in doubt after he scored 34 runs in his last six Test innings, but he has three factors working in his favour: his ODI form is relatively better, he provides assurance as a senior batsman at No. 8, and he can make up for the lack of experience created by the absence of Mohammad Ashraful. For a team that lacks international experience and will grasp any form it has available, a turnaround in Mahmudullah's Test fortunes would come in handy.

In six ODIs this year, Mahmudullah has scored 177 runs at an average of 44.25. In 2012, he averaged 70.66, and was instrumental in Bangladesh's ODI series win over West Indies. In the ongoing Dhaka Premier Division, he has led Gazi Tank Cricketers, but has only scored 81 runs in three innings. In Test cricket, his unusual batting position at No. 8 has yielded surprising results - in 16 innings, he has scored a century and four fifties and averaged 42.21.

At the top of the order, Anamul is likely to return and partner Tamim Iqbal at the cost of Jahurul Islam, who worked hard to get runs in Sri Lanka but couldn't reach any milestones. Bangladesh would have benefited from Jahurul's presence, because he complements Tamim's aggression, but it is likely that Anamul will beat Jahurul to the second opener's slot.

There will also be a battle for Nos. 3 and 4 in the batting line-up and it is likely that the selectors and the team management will look to Marshall Ayub and Naeem Islam to fill these places. Both are right-handed batsmen, with Naeem having had success recently before being sidelined by injury.

In the first Test against the West Indies last year, Naeem scored Bangladesh's first century at No 4 since Aminul Islam's 144 in the inaugural Test 12 years ago. But he picked up a groin injury during the Bangladesh Premier League in January and missed the tours to Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Marshall, on the other hand, has been scoring plenty of runs in the domestic scene in the last 18 months. He has notched up six centuries at different levels and was a part of the Test squad in Sri Lanka, although he didn't get a game.

The next three batting positions, occupied by captain Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain, are settled. The only other concern is the fitness of the pace bowlers Robiul Islam (hamstring injury) and Rubel Hossain (muscle stiffness); Al-Amin is a expected to be a back-up in the attack. Robiul, who was man-of-the-series in the Test series in Zimbabwe, and Rubel are expected to recover in time for the first Test.

Offspinner Sohag Gazi, the leading wicket-taker for Bangladesh in 2012-13, will once again be playing second fiddle to Shakib Al Hasan. He would be expected to take the bowling load, although there has been talk of Gazi taking it easy at training for his Dhaka Premier Division club, Prime Doleshwar SC. His form, however, remains encouraging and can test the visitors.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on October 2, 2013, 15:16 GMT

    who is this marshal guy?? and why is that everyone thinking of him before mominul or gazi? remember the bangla wash ? iur spinners did the trick. we must keep mominul and gazi. they both can bat and bowl..

  • SAROAR on October 2, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    I will suggest this team for 1st odi tamim,anamul,marshal,nasir,nayeem,shakib,musfiq,mahmudullah,gazi,robiul,rubel.

  • Dummy4 on October 2, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    my team is , (1) Tamim (2) Naeem (3) Marhsal (4)Mushfiqur (5) Shakib ( 6)Nasir (7) Mahmudullah (8) Shohag (9) Robiul (10) Enamul Jr (11)lRubel

    Reserve: Anamul, Mominul, Razzak and Mortaza.

  • KH. RAFIQUE on October 2, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    I think the possible 14 players would be 1.Tamim 2.Anamul 3.Marshall 4.Naeem 5.Mushfiq 6.Shakib 7.Nasir 8.Mahmudullah 9.Sohag 10.Robiul 11.Al Amin 12.Enumu Jnr. 13.Rubel 14.Mominul. Here 12 to 14 would be extras for the first TEST.As Mahmudullah is at no. 8 then he must prepare himself for bowling at least 20 overs a day.Otherwise Enamul Jnr. needs to be replaced for Mahmudullah.Because Shakib is out of cricket for a long time.So, it would be hard for him to bowl 25 to 30 overs with full length accuracy.

  • Sami on October 2, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    Friday's practice game is crucial. Win the toss and just bat as long as possible so the team gets a better hand for the main series. We expect the minimum of a 1-0 series win. Flat pitch will be very disappointing since we have no chance of bowling New Zealand out and they will just win or BD might get away with draw. Squad looks good but its of no use if pitch is just flat.

  • Aminur on October 2, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    I guess Naeem should bat at no-5 as I didn't see his technique as good to bat at no-3 or even at no-4. We normally don't use Nasir Hossain as a bowler as far as TEST cricket is concern. So we can push him up the order at no-4 as a pure batsman and I believe he is good enough for the no-4 slot. After no-4 and no-5, Sakib can bat at no-6 and Mushfiq can bat at no-7. I want Mushfiq to bat as late as possible as he has to work very hard behind the wicket. In case of Sakib that's also true though. On the other hand, if Mahmudullah is selected, he might be a good prospect at no-4 for the test as I saw his good batting many times. Then the line up might be as follows: no-4: Mahmudullah, 5: Nasir 6,7: Sakib & Mushfiq 8: Naeem.. And for 2nd opening slot, I think Shamsur Rahman might be a good player with the aggressive Tamim. For the no-3, there can be a fight between Anamul and Ayub. But for the ODI's Anamul should be given a long run at no-3.

  • QGR on October 2, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    Why on earth they are bringing in Marshal? Mominul Islam has shown good performance in the test matches he has appeared and in form in DPL... he should have been given more chance in number 3 or 4. Anamul and Naeem are logical inclusion.

  • Chris on October 2, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    If the wicket is spinning then Gazi, Shakib (6/6), Naeem, Nasir and Mahmudullah will just be a nightmare for New Zealand batsman. 2 pacers is more than enough on these slow wickets.

  • Shoaib on October 2, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    Happy with possible squad. Jahurul shouldn't be anywhere near the team as he hasn't done anything with the bat in his last 2 tours to Zimbabwe and Sri Lankan even the recent A tour. All he has done is score a 50 against a pathetic Indian bowling. I like Al-Amin the youngster. He's got something good in him. Mahmudullah has just scored a 50 in DPL today and I agree it was weird sending him up the order before.

  • Shipu on October 2, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    Excellent news. What we were hoping for. Good to see BCB finally get rid of the tried failures and go with fresh new exciting youngsters like Anamu for the long term futurel. The problem with our batting in the last series was the positions our batsman was batting at all at the wrong order for example an inexperienced Mominul Haque ahead of Shakib and Rahim and it clearly hasn't worked. Hopefully we'll see this kind of 11 - Tamim, Anamul, Naeem, Rahim, Shakib, Nasir, Mominul, Mahmudullah, Gazi, Rubel and Robiul...reserves...Marshall, Sunny, Al-Amin and Mortaza.

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