Veteran hits back at critics, insists his batting is not on the decline January 8, 2007

'I'm still in reckoning for WC squad' - Mashud

Cricinfo staff

Khaled Mashud made 282 runs in his 16 innings bat last year © Getty Images

As doubts over his batting abilities increase, Khaled Mashud, Bangladesh's veteran wicketkeeper-batsman, has hit back at critics. Sidelined by the selectors for Bangladesh's last four one-day internationals, Mashud expressed his surprise as to why he would not be an automatic selection for the tour of Zimbabwe and the World Cup.

"The national team is not a development squad where you try a player to groom for future. I don't think there is any reason right at the moment not to think of me as an automatic choice," he told The Daily Star. "Bangladesh played 28 one-dayers last year and most against opponents like Zimbabwe, Kenya and Scotland where I had little opportunity to bat. I don't think my performances in those few matches were any basis to draw a conclusion about my batting. I played a crucial knock against Zimbabwe in Harare, so how can one claim that my days are over?"

Detractors have cited Mashud's sluggishness at the crease - he scored 22 off 59 balls against West Indies in the Champions Trophy and, against Zimbabwe at Bogra, he needed 28 balls for his 11 - but he maintained he was not thinking of retirement.

"I agree that I failed to fulfill the team's demand in the last couple of matches but it can happen to any player. But it is not true that I have completely lost my touch," Mashud said. "I am still fit enough and I have the self-belief that I still have a long way to go to serve the team. I know performance is the key to keep my place in the team and I am ready to take the challenge. There is no one who put in such an extraordinary performance for me to think about quitting one-day cricket."

Mashud averages 21.90 from 126 one-day internationals. In 2006, he featured in 25 of Bangladesh's 28 matches, with 282 runs at 28.72.