Offspinner Sohag Gazi and medium-pacer Abul Hasan have been selected in Bangladesh's Test squad for the first time, for the opening match of the home series against West Indies in Mirpur from November 13. Gazi, 21, who has 11 wickets including a hat-trick and a century from the two NCL matches this season, was included to balance the presence of two specialist left-arm spinners while Hasan was picked because of his extra pace.
"We have been looking for a genuine offspinner for a long time, and he's [Gazi] been doing well," Akram Khan, the new chief selector, said. "He bowled well during Barisal's first game. West Indies also have a few left-handers, so we took the offspinner."
Gazi earned his call-up on the back of some impressive performances in domestic as well as representative cricket in the last two years. His 87 first-class wickets have come at an average of 24.12 from 18 matches. He was preferred over Enamul Haque Jr, another left-arm spinner, because of the variety he adds. Enamul also lost out to Elias Sunny for the second left-arm spinner's role behind Shakib Al Hasan.
"Enamul is bowling brilliantly, but there's a lot of competition among the left-arm spinners here," Akram said. "We discussed with Saqlain [Mushtaq] and decided to go with Elias Sunny, because he did well in the last Test, his economy rate too is very good.
Hasan, a 20-year-old fast bowler from Sylhet who has played four T20Is, was included as a pace option on a Mirpur pitch that has offered some help to the fast bowlers in the recent first-class matches.
The concern, however, is regarding the batsmen at the top of the order. Nazimuddin and Junaid Siddique are the two contenders for the second opener's role to partner Tamim Iqbal while Naeem Islam, who has scored two centuries for Rangpur division in the NCL, could take the No. 4 spot. However, with the practice match in Savar being called off, there was still a lack of clarity about selections for some positions.
"We wanted the three-day match to be played because we are concerned about two or three places," Akram said. "We considered reputation, the last two Test series and overall experience to pick the first Test team.
"We have tried to play the same team in ODIs and T20s. We play fewer Tests and we haven't played one in 11 months. I think there are a few places that are up for grabs, and whatever we are looking for, no one has established themselves in those positions."
Squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), Mahmudullah (vice-capt), Tamim Iqbal, Junaid Siddique, Shahriar Nafees, Shakib Al Hasan, Naeem Islam, Nazimuddin, Nasir Hossain, Elias Sunny, Shahadat Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Abul Hasan, Sohag Gazi.