Bangladesh in New Zealand 2007-08 December 27, 2007

Bashar, Nafees, Haque added to Test squad

Cricinfo staff

Habibul Bashar and Enamul Haque will be flying to New Zealand to take part in the two-Test series starting January 4, 2008 © Getty Images

Habibul Bashar, Shahriar Nafees and Enamul Haque are being added to New Zealand's squad for the two-Test series starting January 4. The three players will depart on December 28 while four cricketers from the ODI squad will return home after the completion of the ongoing series.

As expected, veteran wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud along with ace left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique were ignored for the New Zealand tour with the selectors showing faith in the young wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim and allowing him to continue on tour. The Rafiqul Alam-led selection panel opted for Bashar, Bangladesh's former captain, Nafees, left-handed opener, and Haque, the left-arm spinner, got the nod over Rafique for technical reason.

"We had conditions in mind rather than going for only experience while taking the decision of leaving out two of our most important performers," Rafiqul said. "Mushfiq is already accustomed to the conditions and his last Test performance in Sri Lanka was also not bad. That's why we didn't find any reason to send Mashud despite his good form in the national league and in addition we have yet to get a full fitness report on him.

"In Rafique's case, what we felt was that a spinner like Enamul who can bowl a little slower would be more effective than him. Enamul has already proved his worth as a longer-version bowler and his performance in the national league was also noteworthy.

"On the other hand we still believe that Rafique has been completely out of sorts since the last home series against India and his performance in the domestic competition and attitude towards the competition also forced us to take the decision."

The former national player also explained the reason behind the selection of Bashar and Nafees, who got the nod because of his late comeback in the National Cricket League.

"The time has yet to come to think about the Test fate of Bashar because we don't want to forget his contribution as a Test batsman. On the other hand we always believe that Nafees is a very important player for us. We dropped Nafees from the one-day squad because of his woeful performances but he has returned among the runs lately to get back his place."

The second and final Test, also the last match of the tour, starts in Wellington on January 12.