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BCB seek to fill A-team void with High Performance unit

A leading edge from Suranga Lakmal lands between Mustafizur Rahman and Imrul Kayes AFP

Training camps and tours for the High Performance unit are ensuring that Bangladesh's fringe players stay fit in the absence of A-team cricket. Bangladesh A have been made to wait for cricket after visits from New Zealand and Zimbabwe A were postponed last month but Akram Khan, BCB's cricket operations chairman, has said that Ireland A are likely to tour later this year.

Currently, the senior men's team are preparing for the series against Australia, while the HP unit is being run under new head coach Simon Helmot. The Under-19 squad have also begun training for the 2018 World Cup in New Zealand. The Bangladesh A team, however, have not played a series since the tour to Zimbabwe and South Africa in October 2015.

Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha has also highlighted the importance of A-team cricket for the country.

"Since we haven't been able to keep the Bangladesh A team active, we have instead ensured that our HP unit has been training properly and touring too," Akram said. "They have toured Australia last month and will go to England next month to play against county second XIs. We were in talks with New Zealand and Zimbabwe for A team tours but they aren't coming. Ireland A are supposed to come later this year."

The current HP squad includes eight international players. But some of the country's top domestic performers over the last three seasons -- Shahriar Nafees, Nasir Hossain, Tushar Imran - have been waiting for a higher standard of cricket to strengthen their push for spots in the senior team.

Among the ten uncapped players who were in the Bangladesh A team during tours to India, Zimbabwe and South Africa in 2015, five have made their international debuts including Mossadek Hossain, Nurul Hasan and Kamrul Islam Rabbi. Players like Mustafizur Rahman, Mehedi Hasan, Mosaddek and Taskin Ahmed have also made the senior side without much representative cricket after playing at the age-group level.

Despite plenty performing players in domestic cricket, the selectors aim to pick those with the technical and mental ability to tackle the higher levels in the A side. In the previous two years in Bangladesh though, there has been a substantial gap.