Bangladesh news

Raqibul retirement bewilders selectors, team-mates

Andrew Miller in Chittagong

March 11, 2010

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Raqibul Hasan sweeps during his unbeaten 107, Bangladesh A v England XI, tour match, Chittagong, 1st day, March 7, 2010
Raqibul Hasan thrived in the warm-up game against England © Getty Images
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The decision of Raqibul Hasan, Bangladesh's 22-year-old middle-order batsman, to retire from international cricket on the eve of the Test series against England has left both his team-mates and the national selectors bewildered, as the squad sets about refocusing for the first Test in Chittagong in 24 hours' time.

Raqibul informed his team-mates of his decision on the team bus after practice on Wednesday, having sent a letter announcing his retirement to the Bangladesh board that morning. According to Jalal Yunus, the board director, his resignation has not yet been accepted, although neither his coaches, team-mates, nor his parents have appeared able to talk him out of the shock move.

Mushfiqur Rahim, Raqibul's closest friend in the squad, and a former Under-19 team-mate, told reporters at the Bangladesh training session that he had had no inkling of the decision that Raqibul was about to make. While the squad was shocked, they were doing their best to make light of the situation, with the Rajshahi batsman Jahurul Islam, drafted into the squad ahead of Mohammad Ashraful.

"This came as a big surprise for us," Akram Khan, a member of the Bangladesh selection committee, told Cricinfo. "I talked to him two days ago, and he had just been batting well against the England team. I never thought he'd do a thing like this, but this is not good. He is a young chap and this is a big decision. He should have thought more about it, both for himself and for our country. This is bad for Bangladesh cricket."

Despite cementing his place in the Test squad with a century and a fifty for Bangladesh A in the three-day warm-up against England in Chittagong earlier this week, Raqibul is understood to be angered at his omission from Bangladesh's one-day plans. He was left out of the home ODI series against England that concluded last week, and perhaps more significantly the 30-man preliminary squad for the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean next month, a tournament regarded as a shop window for the riches on offer in the shortest and most lucrative form of the game.

He was omitted from the team during the recent tour of New Zealand, and Cricinfo understands that there was a disagreement between the board and the selectors over his recall for the England Test series. The recommendation from above had been that Raqibul should be dropped along with Mohammad Ashraful, whose form has deserted him in recent months. Regardless of the apparent political manoeuvrings, however, his decision is being widely regarded as rash.

"This sort of thing happens to everybody, it's not only for him," said Akram. "The most important thing is he has to perform. He didn't get a chance in New Zealand, and he wasn't in the one-day squad for this series, but he was in the Test squad. A lot of good players don't get a chance every time. The England captain [Alastair Cook] is also not in the squad for Twenty20 cricket, but he's still a very good player. I can't understand why he's done this."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. Go to http://twitter.com/miller_cricket to follow him on Twitter through the England tour of Bangladesh.

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
Tour Results
Bangladesh v England at Dhaka - Mar 20-24, 2010
England won by 9 wickets
Bangladesh v England at Chittagong - Mar 12-16, 2010
England won by 181 runs
Bangladesh A v England XI at Chittagong - Mar 7-9, 2010
Match drawn
Bangladesh v England at Chittagong - Mar 5, 2010
England won by 45 runs
Bangladesh v England at Dhaka - Mar 2, 2010
England won by 2 wickets (with 7 balls remaining)
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