Batter Mahmudul Hasan Joy and fast bowler Rejaur Rahman Raja have earned their maiden call-ups to the Bangladesh Test squad for the first match against Pakistan, to be held in Chattogram from November 26. The team management, meanwhile, is waiting for Shakib Al Hasan's fitness assessment as he works his way back from a hamstring injury he suffered during the T20 World Cup last month.
Bangladesh will be without Tamim Iqbal who was ruled out of the Test series with a second fracture on his left thumb, sustained during an Everest Premier League match in October. Mahmudullah isn't part of the squad either, having announced his Test retirement during Bangladesh's last Test in Harare in July.
Chief selector Minhajul Abedin said that both Joy and Raja were rewarded for their form in the National Cricket League. Joy made back-to-back centuries for Chattogram Division, scoring 345 runs overall at an average of 57.69. Raja, who plays for Sylhet Division, took 12 wickets at an average of 16.91, with best match figures of 8 for 82.
"It is still early days for him but Mahmudul has showed good temperament for the longer version," Abedin said. "He is also an in-form batsman. With injury concerns to Taskin (Ahmed) and Shoriful (Islam), we needed to keep our pace-bowling options open and Raja got the nod. We have been monitoring his performances in first-class competitions. He is strong and energetic and has a knack for taking wickets."
Abedin also said that the team would be reliant on the likes of captain Mominul Haque and Mushfiqur Rahim, especially if Shakib is unavailable.
"There is a fair bit of experience if you consider that Mominul (Haque), Mushfiqur (Rahim), Shakib, Taijul (Islam) and Miraz (Mehidy Hasan) are all part of the squad," he said. "We will obviously have to wait to see if Shakib makes it for the first Test but these players have been the most consistent performers for us in Tests and their presence can make a difference.
"We have options in the spin department as well as in pace. The team for the first Test is made up of cricketers who have been playing together regularly and they know the demands of Test matches."
Abedin was wary of Pakistan's strength but backed Bangladesh to come good. "Pakistan are a formidable team but we are confident that Bangladesh will be competitive if we are disciplined and patient."
Bangladesh squad for first Test: Mominul Haque (capt), Shadman Islam, Saif Hassan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Ebadat Hossain, Abu Jayed, Yasir Ali, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Rejaur Rahman Raja, Shakib Al Hasan (subject to fitness)
IN: Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Rejaur Rahman Raja
OUT: Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal (thumb), Shoriful Islam (back), Taskin Ahmed
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84