Shahriar ruled out of SL Tests
Bangladesh's pre-tour misery continued after Shahriar Nafees' hand injury ruled him out of the Test series against Sri Lanka. Nafees told the chief selector, Akram Khan, of his lack of confidence in gripping the bat comfortably. He will be replaced by Mohammad Ashraful who has scored two centuries this domestic season. Ashraful is making a comeback into the Test side after 15 months.
"Shahriar Nafees had a freak accident at home couple of days ago, so he has withdrawn from the tour," coach Shane Jurgensen said. "He will be border-line for the first Test, so we want to ensure that we go into the Test series with a settled group, so Mohammad Ashraful will replace him."
Nafees injured his left palm while trying to clean his bat with a sharp object on Monday and required stitches. Physio Vibhav said on Tuesday that Nafees would be fit in time for the first Test, but the decision remained with the batsman.
"As far as Shahriar Nafees is concerned, I don't think it [the injury] would be a big problem," Singh said. "His stitch should be removed in seven days time and he can start batting after 10 days. We just need to alter his training schedule."
The physio's schedule would have meant Nafees being ready to bat on March 7, the day before the first Test, but it is clear the Bangladesh management are unwilling to travel to Sri Lanka with a player unlikely for the practice match before the Test. Already, Tamim Iqbal's wrist injury means he could be rested for the three-day game in Matara to have him fully fit for the Test.
Nafees' replacement has also created some confusion. Ashraful was not in the 25-man preliminary squad, having been kept out due to his inconsistency. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim however said that the batsman's experience in Sri Lanka and his recent centuries in the BCL and BPL have given him confidence.
"We need someone like him in the side because we have plenty of newcomers like Anamul Haque, Mominul Haque and Marshall Ayub," Mushfiqur said. "He has also made runs in Sri Lanka and is currently in decent form, so I hope his confidence will be better and he can be a positive to the side."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent