Shakib in tri-series despite major fitness concerns
Shakib Al Hasan will be back to captain Bangladesh in the Nidahas Trophy, the T20I tri-series against India and Sri Lanka in Colombo. However, the BCB president Nazmul Hassan indicated that he might be available for only "one or two" matches as he continues to recover from a finger injury.
There were several changes to the squad that was beaten by Sri Lanka in February, notably the return of fast bowler Taskin Ahmed and offspinner Mehidy Hasan. Those missing out were Zakir Hasan, Afif Hossain, Mohammad Mithun, Mahedi Hasan and Mohammad Saifuddin.
Chief selector Minhajul Abedin said the decision to try out youngsters was in line with preparing a strong group for the next World T20. "We are still not up to the mark in T20s. We want to prepare an 18-member pool for the 2020 World T20s, which is why we picked some of them in the home series [earlier this month] after they did well in the BPL."
Among the more debatable picks was Imrul Kayes, who averages 9.15 in 14 T20Is over eight years. Minhajul justified the selection by citing the importance of having an experienced batsman in conditions "where fast bowlers will be a dominating factor."
"Imrul has been included as the third opener because we were considering batsmen who are good against fast bowling. He opens for us in Tests. India has a lot of good fast bowlers. We have gone for an experienced player because we had a bad series against Sri Lanka."
Minhajul also had to face a number of questions on Sabbir Rahman's selection among others. Sabbir has had a wretched recent run, managing scores of 10, 2, 0, 1 and 1 in his last five international outings. "He has the most runs in T20s in the last year," Minhajul said. "He has the experience. We have considered him because we are playing against two experienced sides away from home. I am hopeful because he was also picked in the PSL."
Minhajul also clarified that Taskin's selection was largely Shakib's call as he insisted on having an out-and-out fast bowler owing to conditions at R Premadasa Stadium.
"The captain said that since we are playing in Premadasa where the ground is large and we need someone quick, we picked Taskin Ahmed who has the ability to bowl yorkers and bouncers," he said. "Among all the fast bowlers in Bangladesh, Taskin is the fastest. The team management has a plan for him."
Meanwhile, Mashrafe Mortaza wasn't considered despite a plea by the BCB to reconsider his T20 retirement. "I told him personally to play in the previous series but he didn't show any interest," Hassan said. "This time we sent him word and he must have heard it in the media. As far as I know, he has turned us down again."
Bangladesh squad Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Hider, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84