New Zealand in Bangladesh 2004-05 September 24, 2004

Bashar returns to boost Bangladesh

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Habibul Bashar: back in the squad after injury © Getty Images

Bangladesh's captain, Habibul Bashar, has been named in a preliminary Test squad of 21 players for the forthcoming series against New Zealand, after recovering from the broken thumb that ruled him out of the Champions Trophy.

Bashar returned home on Wednesday night from Australia following a successful operation on his right thumb at the Avenue Hospital in Melbourne on September 6. Although he will not be able to hold a bat before the first week of October, he will nonetheless be joining in the fitness training, when the squad reports to the Army Stadium on Sunday morning.

Bashar, Bangladesh's leading batsman, will take back the reins from Rajin Saleh, who stood in against South Africa and West Indies, but was unable to prevent two heavy defeats. Bangladesh's morale will, however, be boosted by the return of Mashrafee bin-Mortuza, their impressive young paceman.

Mashrafee has not played international cricket since twisting his knee badly during the second Test against England at Chittagong last October, and is still in the early stages of his comeback. It is unlikely that he will be match-fit in time for the first Test, which begins at Dhaka on October 19, but there will be plenty opportunity in the weeks ahead for the selectors to assess his progress.

Another man who hasn't played a Test since Chittagong is Enamul Haq jr, who captained the Under-19 team in England recently, until a ruptured posterior cruciate ligament curtailed his tour midway through.

Squad Habibul Bashar (capt), Rajin Saleh, Khaled Mashud (wk), Khaled Mahmud, Javed Omar, Mushfiqur Rahman, Hannan Sarkar, Alok Kapali, Mohammad Ashraful, Mohammad Rafique, Manjarul Islam, Tapash Baisya, Faisal Hossain, Alamgir Kabir, Mashrafee bin-Mortuza, Enamul Haque Jr, Nazmul Hossain, Tareq Aziz, Nafees Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Talha Jubair.