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July 9, 2010
Bangladesh have called up batsman Mohammad Ashraful, allrounder Naeem Islam and wicketkeeper Saghir Hossain to their injury-hit squad in England. Their first-choice keeper Mushfiqur Rahim has been ruled out for a week after taking a blow in the face and their top-scorer in the first ODI at Trent Bridge, Raqibul Hasan, is out for the rest of the tour after fracturing his toe.
Mushfiqur was struck in the face while standing up to the left-arm spinner Faisal Hossain and had to be stretchered off the field. X-rays showed there was no fracture, but he is being kept in hospital for observation. Raqibul, meanwhile, was struck on the boot by a James Anderson yorker and run out without facing another ball for 76 after his recall to the side following "retirement" earlier in the year.
It is the loss of Mushfiqur that will be the biggest blow to Bangladesh's hopes, however. He is one of the lynchpins of their side - reliable with the gloves and combative with the bat, as he showed with two big sixes off Anderson towards the end of the Bangladesh innings. With no reserve keeper in the squad, Bangladesh face the prospect of having to use Jahurul Islam, who missed the Trent Bridge match with illness, at Bristol if Saghir doesn't arrive in time for Saturday's game.
"Ashraful left home this morning while Naeem will also fly out on the next available flight as Raqibul and Mushfiqur will not be available in the remaining two matches of the series," chief selector Rafiqul Alam told Reuters. "Saghir will join the squad as soon as possible subject to visa approval. Until he reaches England, batsman Jahurul Islam will handle the job of wicketkeeper."
Bangladesh have not won a single international match in 2010, and morale in the squad is low, a fact that Mashrafe Mortaza did not try to disguise on his return to the captaincy for the first time in 12 months. "I think we need some belief, definitely," he said. "Hopefully we will find it next game.
"It's very difficult to beat a team like England in England," he added. "They beat Australia and they are in really good form. Also, we have lost two key players in the side so it's not easy. Hopefully the boys that are are experienced will show some good batting. But the team is definitely under pressure now. We have lost 20 games in a row, and as a captain I have to lift the other 14 guys."
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