Chance for Bangladesh to fix T20 woes
Bangladesh's preparation for the upcoming World Twenty20 begins next Tuesday as the senior side gear up to face the A team in three Twenty20 matches. A two-man selection panel has picked a youthful second-string side against a Bangladesh team which includes Shakib Al Hasan, the allrounder having recovered from dengue fever, which he contracted on the eve of the first ODI against New Zealand in October.
The team will however be without the experience of Tamim Iqbal, as the left-hand opener is still recovering from an abdominal injury that resulted in him missing out on the third ODI of the New Zealand series, as well as the one-off T20 match. They will be led by Mushfiqur Rahim, who has been given an extension till the 2015 World Cup as captain.
Nasir Hossain will lead a strong A team which includes Imrul Kayes, the second-highest scorer in the Dhaka Premier League, as well as Marshall Ayub who played two Tests in October. The side is packed with three allrounders in Farhad Reza, Muktar Ali and Alauddin Babu - who, admittedly, recently conceded 39 runs off an over in a DPL match.
All three matches will be held at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, with the first two - on December 10 and 12 - being played in the evening. The final game, on December 14, will be played in the afternoon.
The series is the brainchild of Bangladesh coach Shane Jurgensen who, like the members of the team management, is looking to fix the team's problematic T20 setup. Bangladesh are currently No. 10 in the ICC Twenty20 rankings, 15 rating points behind Ireland. They have won only two of their last ten international matches in this format.
In the World Twenty20, which they are hosting, Bangladesh will take on Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Nepal in the first round of the competition, from which only one team will qualify to the following stage.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), Anamul Haque, Shamsur Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Naeem Islam, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah , Abdur Razzak, Sohag Gazi, Mashrafe Mortaza, Ziaur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Al-Amin Hossain.
Bangladesh A: Nasir Hossain (capt), Jahurul Islam, Mohammad Mithun, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Marshal Ayub, Sabbir Rahman, Nazmul Hossain, Farhad Reza, Arafat Sunny, Elias Sunny, Muktar Ali, Alauddin Babu.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here