Sunny to replace Gazi in Test squad
Left-arm spinner Elias Sunny has replaced Sohag Gazi in Bangladesh's squad for the two-Test series in the West Indies. Sunny will leave Dhaka on Tuesday to join the team in St Vincent for the first Test, which starts on September 5.
Gazi returned home from St Kitts along with Mohammad Mithun, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza and Taskin Ahmed. He had to submit documents to apply for a UK visa because he is required to be at the Cardiff Metropolitan University by September 19 to have his bowling action tested. Gazi was reported by the umpires after the second ODI against West Indies.
Sunny will be the second specialist spinner in the squad along with uncapped left-armer Taijul Islam. Sunny has played four Tests, the last of which was against Sri Lanka in 2013. He took 6 for 94 against West Indies in 2011, the best figures by a Bangladesh spinner on Test debut. That record, however, was broken the very next year by Gazi, who claimed 6 for 74 against the same opponents.
Sunny was among three bowlers the national selectors were considering to replace Gazi, along with seamer Muktar Ali and legspinner Jubair Hossain. Sunny's experience at Test level, however, won him the spot.
Sunny said he was surprised by the call-up as he had not had a particularly successful year, taking just 27 wickets in first-class matches this year, after claiming more than 50 every year from 2010 to 2013. The spinners Enamul Haque jr, Monir Hossain, Nazmul Islam, Nabil Samad and Suhrawadi Shuvo all picked up more first-class wickets than Sunny during the 2013-14 domestic season, and he was not even a part of the selectors' initial plans for the Bangladesh A team, which will play Zimbabwe A later this month.
"I was very surprised at first," Sunny told Prothom Alo. "Let alone the national team, I wasn't even in the preliminary squad for Bangladesh A, though I was added later. I felt I had just fallen from the sky when some journalists called me on Friday evening telling me that I might be in the Test squad. I think I have recovered from the shock. I am feeling quite happy now.
"Maybe I wasn't getting the wickets, but I bowled well in the NCL and BCL. You need luck to do well in cricket, but I took 9 for 155 in the last BCL game. I think I did not do too badly in the only match I played in the West Indies for Bangladesh A in Barbados."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84