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April 5, 2013
Bangladesh has been boosted by the return of Shakib Al Hasan in the 15-man squad that will take on Zimbabwe in two Tests later this month. The recall of Sajidul Islam after five years, and the persistence with Shahadat Hossain, are both due to the shortage of fit pace bowlers after Abul Hasan was ruled out of the tour with a back injury.
Tamim Iqbal has been retained in the Test squad despite a right thumb injury. He has an outside chance of playing in the first game but is expected to recover in time for the second Test.
Shakib missed Bangladesh's tour of Sri Lanka as he needed time to recover from surgery for a stress fracture in his right shin. Chief selector Akram Khan said the allrounder could be available for the first Test that starts on April 17, but only as a batsman.
"Shakib [Al Hasan] will play as a batsman in the first Test," Akram said in a press briefing. "Whether he will bowl or not is up to whether he recovers in time, but he will definitely be ready to bowl in the second Test match."
Shakib will bring much needed balance to the team, and it is clear that he is far more comfortable after the surgery in late February. He has begun batting in the nets.
Sajidul is a left-arm swing bowler who made his Test debut in New Zealand in 2008, but was subsequently not picked again. He has taken 27 first-class wickets this season for Rangpur Division and North Zone. He makes up a four-man pace attack that also includes Shahadat, who took just one wicket in the Galle Test last month. Abul's injury paved the way for his inclusion after he had a terrible Twenty20 outing last week against Sri Lanka.
"Shahadat is a Test specialist so we want to continue with him. We are having a shortage of pace bowlers, so we need him to perform.
"Sajidul has made a return after doing well in the Bangladesh Cricket League lately. He has been one of the pace bowlers training in the Academy over the last month while the senior side was in Sri Lanka," Akram said.
Shahriar Nafees and Enamul Haque have also been included in the side after both missed the Sri Lanka tour with injuries. Nafees cut his hand while shaving his bat, and Enamul suffering from a hamstring injury. There was no place for Naeem Islam, who also withdrew from the last tour with a right quadriceps tear. Mohammad Ashraful has taken control of the No. 3 position for now after a productive tour.
There was no place for Elias Sunny and Marshall Ayub, while Anamul Haque misses out due to college exams, for which he has taken a short leave from cricket. Mashrafe Mortaza had sounded out his inclination to play Tests, but did not recover sufficiently from a heel contusion.
Squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (c & wk), Tamim Iqbal, Jahurul Islam, Mohammad Ashraful, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Sohag Gazi, Rubel Hossain, Shahadat Hossain, Shahriar Nafees, Enamul Haque, Robiul Islam, Sajidul Islam.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
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