Fitness and openers' form worry selectors

Bangladesh selectors will be looking to address concerns over player fitness and the opening batsmen when they pick the final squad for the three-match ODI series in Australia.

"There are no major injuries but we don't want to take any risks. We will take the decision about the final squad after watching Thursday's practice match at Mirpur," chief selector Rafiqul Alam told the Daily Star on Tuesday. The fitness levels of Nazmul Hossain and Mushfiqur Rahim, who returned home on Tuesday from the Bangladesh A team's tour of England, along with Mashrafe Mortaza and Alok Kapali will be assessed at Thursday's practice match at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

While Nazmul missed the last few games in England because of illness, wicketkeeper Rahim is nursing a shoulder injury. Mortaza, suffering from a long-standing knee injury, and Kapali, who injured his toe, are recovering slowly though and practised at the nets on Tuesday.

"Darryl Lifson, the national team physio, believes Rahim's injury, picked up during fielding against South Africa in the last three-day match, was minor," Alam said. "Mortaza also seems to be getting better as he bowled six overs on Tuesday. The MRI reports have also suggested there was no reason to be worried with his injury."

He, however, was more concerned about finding the right opening pair. "Except Tamim [Iqbal], nobody scored runs in the opening slot, which is a big problem," he said. "We tried a few players in the opening spot but none have impressed."

Bangladesh will play five one-day warm-up games ahead of the one-day series against Australia beginning August 30, 2008 at the Marrara Cricket Ground, Darwin.