August 15, 2003

Mahmud retained as captain for Pakistan tour

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Khaled Mahmud has been retained as Bangladesh's captain for the forthcoming tour of Pakistan, despite his abysmal form against Australia.

Habibul Bashar, whose strokeplay was one of several positives to emerge from that 0-2 reverse in Australia, has been appointed Mahmud's deputy. Bangladesh will play three Tests and five one-day internationals in Pakistan, with the first Test in Karachi slated to begin on August 20.

Bangladesh's finest hour came in June 1999 when they upset Pakistan in a World Cup encounter. They haven't won a match since, losing 20 of 21 Tests after being granted Test status.

Al-Shariar Rokon and Tareq Aziz have been dropped from the squad that toured Australia, with Rajin Saleh and Alamgir Kabir taking their places. Saleh, who usually bats at No. 3, has a first-class average of 47.27 from 20 matches, and has scored five centuries in his career to date. He is the only new face in the squad, although Kabir has played just a single wicketless Test in July 2002.

"Pakistan are difficult to beat in their own conditions. They are clearly favourites," admitted Bangladesh's coach Dav Whatmore, although he insisted that Bangladesh would put up a good fight. "We had a difficult series in Australia and had interesting times, but it should be put behind us now and we should convert them into good performances. It comes down to players to take responsibility and show the desire to be involved."

The first of three Tests begins in Karachi on Wednesday.

Bangladesh squad Khaled Mahmud (capt), Hannan Sarker, Javed Omar, Habibul Bashar, Sanwar Hossain, Mohammad Ashraful, Razin Saleh, Alok Kapali, Mohammad Rafique, Khaled Mashud (wk), Tapash Baishya, Monjurul Islam, Anwar Hossain, Alamgir Kabir and Mashrafe Bin Murtaza.

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