ODI form may not be enough to earn Mahmudullah Test recall

Taskin Ahmed, Mominul Haque and Mahmudullah are padded up during a practice session AFP

Bangladesh's selectors are unlikely to make too many changes for the first Test against Australia later this month. The Bangladesh XI that won their last Test, against Sri Lanka in Colombo in March, will be given a longer rope for their contribution so Mahmudullah, whose breathtaking innings against New Zealand helped Bangladesh reach the Champions Trophy semi-finals for the first time, could continue to find himself left out.

The 14-man squad that has been finalised by the selection committee will be submitted to BCB president Nazmul Hassan for approval, and will be announced on August 19.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Mosaddek Hossain and Sabbir Rahman, who impressed with their batting under pressure in Colombo, will be retained in the middle-order while Taijul Islam, who missed the first Test in Galle before coming in for the Colombo Test, will also be included in the spin attack.

From the side that played in Galle in the first Test against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh had made four changes for the Colombo Test. Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah and Taskin Ahmed were dropped while Liton Das missed out due to a rib injury. They were replaced by Imrul Kayes, Sabbir, Mosaddek and Taijul.

Imrul didn't make too much of an impact after replacing Mominul at No 3. He was Tamim Iqbal's regular opening partner until suffering an injury in Wellington in January; Soumya Sarkar, who took his place, is likely to keep his place, having averaged more than Imrul as a Test opener since last October.

With the selectors also looking at a spin-heavy bowling attack on the slow Mirpur pitch, at least two pace bowlers who were in the 16-man Test squad in Sri Lanka could be axed. Taskin, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Rubel Hossain, Subashis Roy and Shafiul Islam are battling for one pace bowling spot, with Mustafizur Rahman the selectors' first choice.

Liton could also be kept in the squad having played only the Galle Test although Mushfiqur Rahim satisfied the high-ups with his glovework in the Colombo Test after being told to give it up ahead of the Sri Lanka Test series.

Mahmudullah, meanwhile, is a difficult case for the selectors because of his improved ODI form, but he was dropped from the Colombo Test due to poor form, and was even told to head home and miss what was Bangladesh's 100th Test. BCB chief Hassan intervened to keep him in the squad.

Mominul, a Test regular until he was dropped for the Colombo Test, could perhaps remain in the squad but has strong competition from Nasir Hossain for the extra batting spot in the squad.

Among the spinners who have participated in the training camp since July 10, left-arm spiner Sunzamul Islam is slightly ahead of Tanbir Hayder and Saqlain Sajib in the pecking order. Sunzamul was part of Bangladesh's ODI plans having done well in domestic first-class competitions.