BCB president says it was his decision to drop Mahmudullah
BCB president Nazmul Hassan has revealed the significant influence he has over Bangladesh's selection process at present, saying that it was his call to drop allrounder Mahmudullah from the ongoing Test against Sri Lanka.
Hassan also said another high-profile player might have suffered the axe had the designated wicketkeeper Liton Das not been ruled out of the second Test through injury. Indications are that the player he was referring to was the captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who had said "if I get to play" more than once ahead of the game.
"I take all the decisions," Hassan said in Colombo on the first day of Bangladesh's 100th Test. "I have said it repeatedly that I take every decision. The decision that [Mahmudullah] won't play the Test also has to come from me. And no one told me that he won't be in the ODI squad. Until I take the decision, what others say doesn't count. Chandika [Hathurusingha, the coach] doesn't send me anything, it is the selectors who send me the list of players.
"Mahmudullah got left out because this is an important Test for us. Just because we like Mahmudullah, Shakib [Al Hasan], Tamim [Iqbal] and Mushfiqur, doesn't mean we will sit around while they keep playing with poor form. It will make the team unstable.
"There would have been a bigger change had Liton Das not got injured. Anyone can be dropped. I don't need a player in the squad who effects a team after being dropped. This message has to be clear. Whoever is replacing a senior player, you have to encourage him, impart intelligence to him. It is a team game after all."
Hassan's comments, however, appeared to be at odds with the mandate he had set out for the revamped selection committee in June 2016, when the selection of the Bangladesh team became a three-step process.
The committee was expanded by the inclusion of the coach Chandika Hathurusingha, the team manager Khaled Mahmud, and BCB's cricket operations committee chairman Akram Khan. Hassan said at the time that his role in the selection process would be diminished because of Mahmud's inclusion in the panel.
Then the chief selector Faruque Ahmed had quit as a result, saying the new composition would curb the independence of the appointed selectors. Former Bangladesh batsman Minhajul Abedin was given Faruque's position.
Over the last nine months, however, Hassan made public comments about selection on at least three occasions. During the home series against Afghanistan in September 2016 - right after the selection committee was revamped - Hassan said left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain should be picked for the ODIs against England. The 34-year-old was left out of the second and third ODIs after a poor first game.
During the Bangladesh Premier League, Hassan had said the selectors should consider performers from the T20 tournament for the training camp for the New Zealand tour. Mehedi Maruf, one of the players Hassan had mentioned, was included in the camp in Sydney as a "development player", and also travelled to train with the squad in New Zealand.
Hassan's latest comments about Mahmudullah are likely to put more pressure on the current selectors, particularly the chief selector Minhajul, who is a respected figure in Bangladesh cricket, having been the country's best batsman in the 1980s and 1990s.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84