Bangladesh squad for Asia Cup June 15, 2004

Javed Omar replaces Hannan Sarkar

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Hannan Sarkar: axed after a poor series against the West Indies © AFP

Javed Omar has been recalled into the Bangladesh one-day side for the Asia Cup, which begins in July in Sri Lanka. Omar will replace Hannan Sarkar in the 14-member squad. The other change to the squad was the omission of Shahriar Hossain, unavailable due to a back injury.

Sarkar's exclusion wasn't a major surprise, considering the torid time he had with the bat in the West Indies. With a total of 19 runs in the two Tests, including two first-ball ducks, it was always going to be a struggle for him to keep his place in the side. His one-day performance, though, was slightly better as he managed 40 runs in the three low-scoring tussles.

The Daily Star quoted Faruque Ahmed, the chief selector, as saying that they were keen not to make too many changes in the squad. "The boys ran West Indies very close in the one-day series. That's why we have made only one change from the squad that toured the Caribbean. We dropped Hannan because he is not only out of form but also seemed to lose his confidence."

The inclusion of Omar, branded as a Test player, might come a surprise to many. Omar, 28, has played 28 one-dayers and has a modest average of 22.68. His last one-dayer was against Australia in Darwin in 2003.

However, Dav Whatmore, the coach of the team who is also a member on the selection committee, defended the inclusion of Omar. "We are in a position to find a good opening combination first and expecting to settle it. The sooner the better. Our other options are Mohammad Ashraful and Manjarul Islam."

Whatmore also said that the Omar-Ashraful combination would be a balanced opening pair. "Javed [Omar] can keep his wicket intact while Ashraful is a good stroke-player. He has the talent to establish himself as an opening batsman and the ability to score big hundreds if he gets the time. So we want to give him as much batting time as possible."

Also, the selectors have retained Alok Kapali in the side, despite his scores of 5 and 1 in the two one-day matches that he played in the West Indies. "I agree that his performance was below par," said Whatmore, "but he has more to offer in Sri Lankan conditions. He might also use his legbreaks."

Bangladesh will also retain the three specialist left-arm spinners - Abdur Razzak, Manjarul Islam Rana and Mohammad Rafique. Commenting on that decison, Faruque said, "We believe Sri Lankan wickets will help the spinners but the fact is we picked only one specialist left-arm spinner in Abdur Razzak, Manjarul and Mohammad Rafique are considered as allrounders."

Bangladesh are scheduled to play Hong Kong in the Group A opener on July 16 and take on Pakistan the next day. India, UAE and Sri Lanka make up the other group.

The camp for the Asia Cup will begin on June 16 at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthan in Dhaka.

1 Javed Omar, 2 Mohammad Ashraful, 3 Habibul Bashar (capt), 4 Rajin Saleh, 5 Alok Kapali, 6 Faisal Hossain, 7 Mushfiqur Rahman, 8 Khaled Mahmud, 9 Khaled Mashud, 10 Mohammad Rafique, 11 Manjarul Islam, 12 Tapash Baisya, 13 Tareq Aziz Khan, 14 Abdur Razzak.