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Sabbir v Mosaddek and other Bangladesh selection issues

Mosaddek Hossain's recent form has given Bangladesh's selectors a question to answer AFP / Getty Images

Ahead of their opening game against South Africa on June 2, Bangladesh will have to consider the conditions at The Oval when picking their playing XI, but there is stiff competition within the squad too. ESPNcricinfo looks at five areas that need to be addressed before their first match in this World Cup.

Will they break the grand plan for Mosaddek?

The first big question that will be posed in front of captain Mashrafe Mortaza, coach Steve Rhodes, chief selector Minhajul Abedin and BCB president Nazmul Hassan, ahead of their game against South Africa is whether they should break their long-term plan to bat Sabbir Rahman at No. 7 in order to accommodate Mosaddek Hossain.

The plan was so ingrained in their thinking that the BCB reduced Sabbir's ban for abusing a fan on Facebook to ensure he played the three ODIs against New Zealand back in February. But even though he struck his maiden ODI hundred during that series, Sabbir's form of late hasn't been as encouraging.

And then came Mosaddek's blinder against West Indies in the tri-series final, especially his sudden six-surge during a chase. Bangladesh have been searching for years for at least one lower-order batsman to be able to do something similar. Sabbir was their marked man for this role but now Mosaddek's case looks stronger.

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Rubel or Saifuddin, or both?

Mohammad Saifuddin's all-round abilities give him the edge over Rubel Hossain, who has, however, the experience of playing two previous World Cups and being a match-winner on occasion. It is not quite a secret that Mashrafe has considerable faith in him and has said often that he prefers Rubel in the death overs.

Saifuddin hasn't had enough performances to warrant the same unflinching faith but the general habit in Bangladesh cricket is to risk a youngster on a big occasion.

Given the conditions, they could also play both Rubel and Saifuddin, if they feel picking Mehidy Hasan would make it one spinner too many. But Mehidy's accuracy with the ball, and his batting, could make him a starter.

Does Liton's fifties give him an outside chance?

Suddenly, Liton Das has also thrown himself in the mix, especially after his fifties against India in the practice match and against Ireland two weeks ago. It is unlikely that they would break the Tamim Iqbal-Soumya Sarkar opening combination, and Liton has largely been picked as their back-up. However, in the two chances he has been given so far he has looked in good touch.

In the event of the team management seriously considering including Liton. they would have to reshuffle the batting order again. It would mean Shakib Al Hasan being sent to No. 5 after he has established himself at No. 3 since the start of 2018. And it would also mean Mohammad Mithun, who was the only notable performer in the ODI series against New Zealand back in February, sitting out.

Who will take the new ball?

Bangladesh haven't done too well with the new ball this year. Mashrafe has been the only constant during the first Powerplay, with Saifuddin and Mustafizur Rahman at times giving him company. Rubel is said to be more comfortable bowling in the middle and death overs, while Saifuddin is still developing. They tried Abu Jayed for a couple of games but he is only going to play if the conditions are conducive to swing. Mashrafe and Mustafizur therefore seem to be the most likely pairing but if that isn't working, Mashrafe has also not been shy to bring Shakib and Mehidy into the attack early.