World Cup 2015 news January 4, 2015

Soumya Sarkar in Bangladesh World Cup squad

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Isam: Soumya Sarkar's inclusion biggest surprise

The Bangladesh selectors were won over by Soumya Sarkar's all-round abilities to pick him in their 15-member squad for the 2015 World Cup. Nasir Hossain and Taskin Ahmed have also been recalled after missing the ODI series against Zimbabwe last month.

Mashrafe Mortaza was expectedly named captain after leading the side to a 5-0 win in his first ODI series in charge, and Shakib Al Hasan has been retained as his deputy.

Chief selector Faruque Ahmed, who also picked the 2007 World Cup squad, said that the current squad was picked with realistic goals, which is to win the games against Afghanistan and Scotland, and try to beat at least one of the four major teams among Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and England.

"Every selector wants to build a team that will win the World Cup. We also want to do that but our style is to set a realistic target," Faruque said. "We have to win at least two of those matches to have any practical chance of making it to the next round. We have considered form and who can sustain in those conditions. We wanted seasoned campaigners although we haven't picked [Abdur] Razzak. Those who have replaced him have played domestic cricket for a long time and are with the team for the last 12 months.

"Soumya is a utility player who can bat at the top order and his medium-pace bowling also can be handy in Australia-New Zealand. We thought that it would be a risk to include Likhon [Jubair Hossain] in the squad and we have picked three left-arm spinners in the past, and we have been successful against middle and lower-ranking teams."

Sarkar has been included as the third opener after Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque, and the fifth seam option after Mashrafe, Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain and Rubel Hossain. Sarkar played his one and only ODI in the Zimbabwe series, and is the fourth-highest run-scorer in the Dhaka Premier Division League, with 615 runs at an average of 41, with four fifties and a century. He has taken only eight wickets with his medium-pace.

Nasir was dropped for the entire Zimbabwe series after enduring his first poor year in international cricket post his debut in 2011. He averaged 20.45 in 13 matches in 2014, having had averages of 64, 35 and 36 in the three preceding years. Taskin's last ODI was against West Indies in August last year, after which he suffered a side strain in November, and returned to play in the Dhaka Premier League.

The selection panel also retained Taijul Islam, who took a hat-trick on ODI debut, and Sabbir Rahman, who replaced Nasir in the Zimbabwe series to make his ODI debut. He had played T20s for Bangladesh earlier in 2014 while Taijul's eight-wicket haul against Zimbabwe is Bangladesh's best bowling figures in Tests.

This will be the third World Cup campaign for Mashrafe, Tamim, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim while Rubel Hossain and Mahmudullah have been included for their second appearance.

Shafiul Islam and one other player will accompany the squad as standbys to Brisbane for their two-week preparatory camp.

The announcement of the squad was delayed by more than two hours after the BCB had earlier said in a press release that it would take place at 1pm. BCB president Nazmul Hasan explained that the delay was caused by last-minute discussions among the three-man selection panel, the president himself and a majority of the board directors. But according to both the BCB president and Faruque, the team that was submitted by the selectors held sway despite the late discussions.

Bangladesh World Cup squad: Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Taijul Islam

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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