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February 2, 2014
Batsman Sabbir Rahman and pace bowler Muktar Ali are likely to earn maiden call-ups to the Bangladesh Twenty20 squad, for the two-match series against Sri Lanka from February 12. These will be Bangladesh's last matches before the World Twenty20, so the selectors will be trying out players whom they consider possible selections for the March event.
Apart from the two new faces, Tamim Iqbal is expected to return to the side, while the rest of the line-up will be reordered. Shamsur Rahman will remain at the top with Tamim, but captain Mushfiqur Rahim or Shakib Al Hasan are set to come up the batting line-up. Sabbir could follow the experience duo, if the management decides to replace Naeem Islam from the last Twenty20 line-up against New Zealand.
Ziaur Rahman will likely be retained in the side for his role as a big-hitter and medium pace bowler.
Sabbir had a prolific last year in this format, having scored six half-centuries. His part-time leg-spin and athletic fielding could also be important factors when his name comes up for discussion among the national selectors. He first caught the eye when he hit a match-winning 33 off 18 against Afghanistan in the Asian Games final in 2010. He did well in domestic Twenty20 tournaments thereafter, playing for Duronto Rajshahi and Barisal Burners in the two BPL seasons. His ability to read a situation in T20 has been marked out as one of his strengths. But Sabbir's strike rate still has to improve; that has often been a major problem for Bangladesh batsmen in T20s.
Among the bowlers, only Shakib had figures worth mentioning in T20 internationals last year, so the selectors have to look elsewhere. Among the pace bowlers on the domestic circuit, Muktar's lively action, variation and the fact that coach Shane Jurgensen has been quite impressed by the young pace bowler puts him in contention for a place.
Mashrafe Mortaza is also likely to return, while Al-Amin Hossain's ability to hold his own in T20s would most likely keep him in the starting line-up in the first game.
Abdur Razzak will be persisted with on the spin front. In 2013, Enamul Haque jr was the top domestic T20 wicket-taker with 26 wickets. He should be among the spinners looked into, alongside Elias Sunny.
The squad is likely to be named on February 3.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
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