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Bangladesh hand Nazmul, Mithun maiden Test call-ups

Nazmul Islam is thrilled after getting his maiden ODI cap Raton Gomes/BCB

Bangladesh have handed maiden call-ups to four uncapped players: Ariful Haque, Mohammad Mithun, Khaled Ahmed and Nazmul Islam in the 15-member squad for the first Test against Zimbabwe in Sylhet.

They have left out Kamrul Islam, Rubel Hossain and Nurul Hasan while Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan are still injured. Mahmudullah will lead the side in Shakib's absence, because of a finger injury. Tamim, meanwhile, is recovering from a wrist injury sustained at the Asia Cup in September.

Kamrul and Rubel picked up just one wicket between them on the two-Test tour of West Indies in June-July, and have lost their places to Mustafizur Rahman and Khaled, the 26-year old right-arm fast bowler who has 48 wickets in 20 first-class matches. Khaled also snared his maiden 10-wicket haul in first-class cricket, in Sylhet Division's victory over Dhaka Metropolis. Nurul, meanwhile, has been left out of despite being one of just two Bangladesh batsmen on tour to make a half-century in the Test series. That means Mushfiqur Rahim will keep wickets.

Ariful, who has only played T20Is for Bangladesh, has been picked on the back of a strong domestic showing. Earlier this month, he struck 231 for Rangpur against Rajshahi in a first-class fixture. Mithun, meanwhile, has been picked on the back of his limited-overs form.

"The team management were looking for a bowler who could bowl straight stump to stump, which is why we picked [Nazmul Islam] Apu," said chief selector Minhajul Abedin. "We didn't consider [Abdur Razzak] Raj on current form and fitness. The management also wanted a batsman who could be a big-hitter at No 7 or 8 and who could also tackle the low bounce, which is why we decided on Ariful."

Tushar Imran, the veteran batsman, hasn't been considered despite making three first-class centuries this month is because the selectors are building towards the future, according to Abedin. Imran, who debuted in 2002, averages 44 across 163 first-class matches.

"We have established batsmen like Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah at No 4 and 5 where Tushar usually bats in domestic cricket. We are also looking at some players who can be our future, at least in the next two or three years."

Bangladesh squad: Mahmudullah (capt), Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Mominul Haque, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Ariful Haque, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Mithun, Khaled Ahmed, Nazmul Islam