What delayed Bangladesh's squad selection?
In a last-minute off the cuff meeting that went on for more than two hours, the Bangladesh selection committee was asked by the BCB president Nazmul Hassan and a majority of the board directors to explain the World Cup squad. According to Hassan, the discussion was about two bowling spots.
Chief selector Faruque Ahmed said that it was normal practice to be asked about their choices. "We were called up by the board directors and the president. It is a normal practice to be asked who we selected and why we made the selections. That's why there was a delay," he said.
Hassan explained that since a lot of the board directors, the coach Chandika Hathurusingha and captain Mashrafe Mortaza were present in Mirpur, it was an opportunity to discuss the squad.
"I thought I would just come and announce the team but the problem was that the board directors, the coach and captain were all present today," Hassan said. "The full selection committee was here, so we spoke to them as well. The major challenge this time is the high number of options available to us. It became hard for us to decide who to pick. Everyone had a different opinion.
"We have three spinners who have performed well recently - Taijul Islam, Jubair Hossain and Arafat Sunny. So it was a major decision to pick among them. We had to listen to everyone. Secondly, we had to pick among Al-Amin, Shafiul and Rubel."
Hassan said that the discussion was also about the inclusion of Jubair, the young legspinner who made his Test and ODI debut against Zimbabwe late last year, but who was largely benched by his Premier League side Abahani. Faruque explained that Jubair would be a major risk due to his lack of experience in domestic and international levels.
But Hassan later said that Jubair could be one of the two standbys who would be sent to Brisbane along with the squad to help out in the nets. Shafiul Islam was named as the other standby but the second player was not announced.
"We discussed two names. We talked to the coach, the captain and cricket operations [committee]. Nobody could be sure who to drop," Hassan said. "One of them was [Jubair Hossain] Likhon, and the others were Al-Amin [Hossain] and Shafiul [Islam]. We have kept the 15-man squad as it is, but we have put Shafiul as the 16th man and Likhon is in discussion for the 17th place."
To which Faruque added: "We have a two-week camp in Brisbane for which we can't find many net bowlers. We know that our seam attack is injury-prone so we wanted to get one of the boys quickly adjust to the weather and conditions. We wanted to have two players who are likely to enter the squad [in case of a withdrawal] and adjust to the conditions quickly."
Hassan said that he only spoke to Faruque on Saturday when he had gone to submit the team to the BCB president. Faruque joked that it would have been better had the president given his choice of squad to the media, much like some of the former Bangladesh players had done over the past few weeks. Hassan too had gone on to give his opinion to the media prior to the announcement.
"I think the other point of interest was that the president said who should be and should not be in the squad, as I had read in some of the newspapers," Faruque said. "There is so much interest in the World Cup squad that I think it is a very normal thing for the president to give his opinion about the squad. It would have been better if he had given the 15-member squad in the newspapers but he didn't give it."
Hassan said that since taking over as the BCB president, he has known that he would take the final decision in team selection. He said that there haven't been many changes made in the past or even in this squad, but he likes to discuss the squad before approving it.
"From what I have seen since coming [to BCB as the president], the selection committee prepares a list and gives it to us," Hassan said. "The president gives the final decision. It is not that there weren't changes previously, when Akram [Khan] was chief selector.
"We take the decision after a discussion, and it is not that my choice always goes through. You can ask whether we should speak to the directors, coach, captain. But I want to discuss with as many as possible, which makes my decision-making easier."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84