Farhad Reza named in Bangladesh squad for World T20
Farhad Reza, a pace-bowling allrounder, is the only change in an otherwise settled 15-member Bangladesh squad for the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. Farhad replaced Nazmul Hossain in the team that will also be touring Trinidad and Tobago in early September for a four-nation tournament, though it will play under the name of Bangladesh Cricket Board XI.
Chief selector Akram Khan said Farhad's all-round abilities led him to be picked. "We said ahead of the Zimbabwe tour [in June] that 90% of the team would be the same," Akram told ESPNcricinfo. "We made one change to the squad that toured Europe by bringing in Farhad [Reza] in place of Nazmul [Hossain]. Farhad gives us a batting option down the order apart along with his role as a seamer."
Nazmul went wicketless in the two games he played during Bangladesh's tour of Europe last month. Abul Hasan, who also didn't pick a wicket in Ireland and the Netherlands, was preferred due to his extra pace. Farhad could have been chosen as a backup for Ziaur Rahman as it is unlikely for the team management to pick more than two seamers in Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh toured Zimbabwe in June and Europe in July and played ten matches against Zimbabwe, South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands, giving the selectors ample opportunity to assess the T20 side. They picked new faces like Ziaur, Hasan and Anamul Haque while the team management also experimented with the batting order.
Ziaur, who bowls fast-medium, was promising with his ability to play as a big-hitting floater in the middle order, as he showed during a quickfire 40 against Ireland. Mohammad Ashraful's strike-rate - 91.20 in four matches in Europe - remains a worry but he did score enough runs to convince the selectors to retain him as an opener alongside Tamim Iqbal.
Bangladesh's fortunes will depend heavily on Shakib Al Hasan, who will continue to bat at No. 3 as he had done during the Europe tour. Shakib is currently recovering from a knee injury that sidelined him from the SLPL. He has started bowling in the nets and will be working closely with Saqlain Mushtaq, who has joined the Bangladesh coaching staff for four months as the spin-bowling consultant.
Left-arm spinner Elias Sunny will be facing his first major Twenty20 challenge, having made a record-breaking debut against Ireland last month while Mashrafe Mortaza will have a key role to play as the most experienced seamer in the bowling attack.
Bangladesh will take on New Zealand on September 21 before meeting Pakistan on September 25. Both matches will be played at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Bangladesh