Bangladesh recall Haque and Saleh for SL Tests
Bangladesh have recalled Enamul Haque jnr and Rajin Saleh in the 14-member Test squad to take on Sri Lanka in the two-match series, which gets underway on January 26 in Dhaka. While Haque makes his comeback after close to a year, after last playing on the tour of New Zealand in January, Rajin Saleh returns after being dropped for Bangladesh's previous tour, away to South Africa last month.
The notable absentees from that tour however, will be Abdur Razzak, Naeem Islam, Nazmul Hossain. Razzak, the Bangladesh left-arm spinner, has been suspended from bowling in international cricket after independent analysis confirmed his action was suspect under current ICC regulations.
Naeem, having made his debut in the home series against New Zealand, before he was picked for the team to South Africa, had a disappointing outing in the only Test he played at Bloemfontein, managing just 8 and 3 and failing to pick up any wickets. Nazmul, however, did not play in either of the two matches on that tour.
The selectors seem to have opted for a like-for-like switch with Haque replacing Razzak, both of whom are left-arm spinners. Haque, incidentally, has also been signed by Maharashtra as one of its two overseas players for the 2008-09 Indian domestic season. He has played three ODIs and 12 Tests for Bangladesh and took 6 for 45 in his country's maiden Test victory against Zimbabwe in 2005.
Saleh will look to bolster the batting line-up after last featuring in the two-Test home series against New Zealand. Not a regular feature in the squad since July 2007, he was called up for the series this October where he managed just 26 runs in the two matches at 8.66. He has played 24 Tests and 43 ODIs and will be keen to score his first Test century in the series against Sri Lanka and cement his place in the side.
Bangladesh have not managed a win against Sri Lanka in the ten Tests they have played. The last series was played in Sri Lanka back in June-July 2007 and had resulted in a 3-0 clean-sweep for the hosts.
Meanwhile, Saleh has been named captain of the BCB XI squad for the three-day match against the Sri Lankans starting December 21. The 14-man team also includes Mehrab Hossain jnr, Imrul Kayes and Shahadat Hossain - all part of the Test squad - as well as Nazmul. Left-arm spinner Nabil Samad, the second-highest wicket-taker in the National Cricket League this season, has been called up so is Faisal Hossain, who played his only Test in 2004 and is the leading run-getter so far this season in Bangladesh's domestic first-class tournament. Mithun Ali, who was Bangladesh's keeper during this year's Under-19 World Cup, has also been included.
Test squad: Mohammad Ashraful (capt), Mashrafe Mortaza (vice-capt), Tamim Iqbal, Junaid Siddique, Imrul Kayes, Raqibul Hasan, Mehrab Hossain jnr, Shakib Al Hasan, Rajin Saleh, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shahadat Hossain, Enamul Haque jnr, Mahbubul Alam, Sajidul Islam.
BCB XI squad: Rajin Saleh (capt), Imrul Kayes, Nafees Iqbal, Faisal Hossain, Mithun Ali (wk), Mehrab Hossain jnr, Nazmul Hossain, Shahadat Hossain, Tareq Khan, Nabil Samad, Saikat Ali, Ashraful Aziz, Mohammad Rahe, Raihanuddin Arafat.