Mushfiqur Rahim has been retained as Bangladesh captain for the Asia Cup, starting March 11 in Mirpur*. This comes a day after the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) announced a 14-member squad for the tournament.
The demotion of opening batsman Tamim Iqbal to the reserves and the inclusion of allrounder Mashrafe Mortaza are among a host of changes in the squad. Bangladesh's selectors have dropped four of the 15 players who were part of the home ODI series against Pakistan in December 2011, demoted two to reserve status, and called up five. They also continued to not pick Mohammad Ashraful.
The chief selector Akram Khan, however, said that dropping Tamim was not the panel's decision but that of the Bangladesh Cricket Board president Mustafa Kamal. "Tamim Iqbal was dropped by Mustafa Kamal," he told Daily Star. "He was in the team that we submitted [for approval]."
The selectors had received favourable fitness reports on both Mortaza and Tamim ahead of their meeting to pick the Asia Cup squad. Mortaza had led Dhaka Gladiators to victory in the inaugural season of the BPL, but Tamim played only two games for Chittagong Kings because of a groin injury.
The five players called up to the squad were batsman Nazimuddin, wicketkeeper batsmen Jahurul Islam and Anamul Haque, Mortaza, and fast bowler Shahadat Hossain. Anamul, 19, is the only uncapped player in the squad.
Alok Kapali and Shahriar Nafees, allrounder Naeem Islam and medium-pacer Rubel Hossain were dropped from the squad that played Pakistan. Tamim and medium-pace allrounder Farhad Reza, who were also part of the Pakistan series, were among the reserves for the Asia Cup.
*March 6,14.30 GMT - This story was amended when the BCB announced that Mushfiqur had been named captain