Mohammad Ashraful has been dropped from the Bangladesh squad for the second Test against Pakistan, which begins on December 17. The decision follows Ashraful's poor showing in the Chittagong Test, where he lasted fourteen balls in two innings.
Shafiul Islam, meanwhile, returns to the national setup, after being ignored for the first Test. He had missed out on the West Indies Tests in October-November, because of a foot injury.
There was confusion surrounding Bangladesh's squad for the second Test, with regards to the status of Ashraful. He had checked into the team hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday and was among the fourteen players who practiced at the Shere Bangla Stadium on Thursday morning. Also, coach Stuart Law had said Ashraful was, to his knowledge, part of the squad.
However, the selection panel's list, which was yet to be approved by BCB president AHM Mustafa Kamal as is mandatory, did not include Ashraful's name. Eventually, Kamal approved the squad on returning to Dhaka after the ACC meeting in Singapore late on Thursday evening, but the delay raised questions of professionalism.
The amount of time the coaching staff spent working on Ashraful during the training session, and Law's statements, served to add to the confusion. "As far as I know, he [Ashraful] is in the squad," Law said. "That's why he's here at practice. We haven't been told anything different. Maybe it is speculation, that sort of thing goes on in this part of the world."
Later on Thursday, the BCB's cricket operations committee asked Ashraful to leave the hotel while he was signing up with a new club for the Dhaka Premier League on the last day of the inter-club transfers. Shafiul Islam arrived at the hotel in the evening from Bogra, his hometown. The coaching staff wasn't informed of the switch and got to know of it only after it was reported on television channels and news websites.
Squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), Mahmudullah (vice-capt), Tamim Iqbal, Nazimuddin, Shahriar Nafees, Shakib Al Hasan, Naeem Islam, Nasir Hossain, Elias Sunny, Shahadat Hossain, Sohrawardi Shuvo, Robiul Islam, Nazmul Hossain, Shafiul Islam.
Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka