Ashraful recalled for Pakistan Tests
Mohammad Ashraful has been recalled to the Bangladesh squad for the two Tests against Pakistan starting later this week. Ashraful, who did not play the ODIs against Pakistan, is one of four changes to the Test squad that played West Indies in October and November.
The vice-captain Mahmudullah, medium-pacer Robiul Islam and batsman Nazimuddin were the other inclusions in the 15-man group, in place of opener Imrul Kayes and middle-order batsmen Raqibul Hasan and Shuvagata Hom.
Ashraful had been out of the Bangladesh squad since being dropped for the Tests against West Indies, after which the coach Stuart Law had said that he needed to perform to play international cricket. Since then he played five National Cricket League matches for Dhaka Metropolis and scored three half-centuries and one hundred.
Mahmudullah's return to the squad was more straightforward. He had missed the West Indies Tests because of dengue fever and recovered in time to play the ODIs against Pakistan.
Law had said that Robiul had missed out on the Tests against West Indies because Bangladesh were unlikely to play three medium-pacers. The squad for that series comprised 14 players, while the one against Pakistan has 15. Robiul strengthened his case by taking 11 wickets on Bangladesh A's tour of West Indies and took 4 for 39 for Sylhet Divison in their ongoing National Cricket League match against Dhaka Division.
Nazimuddin had not played for Bangladesh since 2008 and he was not part of the recent A team's tour of West Indies either. However, he has scored four half-centuries and a hundred in six NCL matches this season.
Kayes was axed after a string of poor performances. He made only 53 runs in three ODIs and 61 runs in two Tests against West Indies. He then scored 28 and 3 in an NCL match for Khulna Division, after which he was out for 2 and 6 in the Twenty20 and an ODI against Pakistan.
Shuvagata Hom was dropped even though he did not play a Test against West Indies and is yet to debut. Raqibul was cut after a poor A tour of the Caribbean, where he made only 91 runs in eight innings across formats.
Squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Mahmudullah (vc), Tamim Iqbal, Shahriar Nafees, Mohammad Ashraful, Shakib Al Hasan, Naeem Islam, Nasir Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Nazmul Hossain, Elias Sunny, Shahadat Hossain, Suhrawadi Shuvo, Robiul Islam, Nazimuddin.