BCB president: Mahmudullah still in Bangladesh's World Cup plans

With injuries constantly assailing the squad, there may yet be room for the middle-order batter even though he hasn't featured since March

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Mahmudullah played his part in lifting Bangladesh after a poor start, Bangladesh vs India, 2nd ODI, Dhaka, December 7, 2022

Mahmudullah averages 43.8 across his last 12 months in ODIs  •  AFP/Getty Images

Mahmudullah remains in contention for the World Cup, according to BCB president Nazmul Hassan, even though he has not played an ODI since March. Hassan has suggested that the experienced middle-order batter will be among the group that plays in the ODI series against New Zealand later this month.
Bangladesh have played 11 ODIs since Mahmudullah's last appearance. At the time he was first left out, the selectors said he had been "rested", but they continued to leave him out of subsequent squads, including the one for the ongoing Asia Cup.
He averaged 43.8 in 13 innings in the 12 months leading up to his exclusion, but scored his runs at a strike rate of 70.75, well below his career figure of 76.17.
Towhid Hridoy is recognised as the batter who has effectively taken Mahmudullah's place, although Bangladesh are still unsure over whom to play at No. 7. The presence of two allrounders in Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz allows them to pick either an extra batter or an extra bowler, and they have gone back and forth between those two options. In their most recent Asia Cup game against Afghanistan, they promoted Mehidy to open - he scored a century before retiring hurt - and picked two frontline batters - Shamim Hossain and Afif Hossain - at Nos. 7 and 8.
In May, Hassan had said Mahmudullah remained in Bangladesh's plans, but the selectors have continued to ignore him so far.
"I think he is [in the selectors' thoughts]," Hassan said on Monday. "I don't see why not. Our players are injury-prone like [Najmul Hossain] Shanto and Miraz yesterday. Mustafizur [Rahman] suffered in the first game. We need continuous replacements. We won't be able to cover the World Cup with eleven players. There's no need to take the standby players lightly."
Hassan said Bangladesh have had to veer from their initial plan of naming the same squads for the Asia Cup and World Cup due to injuries. "The Asia Cup squad was supposed to be the World Cup squad," he said. "But we have had to make several changes. Ebadot [Hossain] would have been in the squad if he was fit. Tamim [Iqbal] and Litton [Das] would have also been in the squad."
Hassan said Bangladesh would announce their World Cup squad after the New Zealand series, which ends on September 26. September 5 is the deadline for teams to name their squads, but they have some leeway to make changes thereafter.
"We have to give them [the ICC] a squad for logistical reasons," Hassan said. "I think the main squad has to be submitted on September 27. You will all know after we see them in the New Zealand series. I think those who are in Dhaka will get to play against New Zealand.
"We haven't been able to implement our plan. Tamim Iqbal and Litton Das were supposed to open in the Asia Cup but they are not in the team. I don't know if they have been declared fit. We can't make a team without them, can we? You have to understand our challenges. We have 17 players in the Asia Cup squad.
"The six in Dhaka are also capable players. Tamim and Litton will enter the fray, which makes it 25 players. We have to leave out ten players. Who to leave out? It won't be easy. Can we leave out those who are performing? We don't have to leave out anyone now."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84