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Shakib wants World Cup-bound players to be rested for New Zealand ODIs

"We can't afford injuries in that big tournament which involves practice matches and lots of travel," says Bangladesh captain

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Shakib Al Hasan is all smiles for the press, Bangladesh vs Afghanistan, Sylhet, July 13, 2023

Shakib Al Hasan wants all four of his fast bowlers to remain fit for the ODI World Cup  •  BCB

Shakib Al Hasan feels Bangladesh should rest their ODI World Cup-bound players during the home series against New Zealand later this month to ensure that they are "fit and healthy." The three-match ODI series begins on September 21 and concludes on 26 in Dhaka, with both teams set to travel to India the following day. Both New Zealand and Bangladesh have two warm-up matches each on September 29 and October 2, respectively.
Shakib conceded that one of the reasons to ask for this short period of rest is because of "lots of travel" that the team would have during the tournament in India. Bangladesh's home series against New Zealand could also be an opportunity to test their bench strength. They are yet to name the squad for the World Cup.
"We will try a few things in the three ODIs against New Zealand," Shakib said. "If we can get one or two players from there who can fit into the team [later], it will be better for the team. Everyone has a chance [to play]. I personally believe that those who played in the Asia Cup could be rested from the New Zealand series, especially those who are confirmed for the World Cup.
"We cannot afford injuries in that big tournament which involves practice matches and lots of travel. We don't have a lot of bench strength. It is very important for us that players are fit and healthy for the World Cup. I want all four of our fast bowlers to remain fit, now that Ebadot [Hossain] is out."
Bangladesh's opponents, New Zealand, have picked a second-string squad led by Lockie Ferguson with Tom Latham among a group of senior players given a break before the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Shakib suggested that the question about Mahmudullah's return was "irrelevant" now, although BCB president Nazmul Hassan had stated twice since May that he was in contention. Mahmudullah has not played an ODI since March.
"I don't know if you mentioned Riyad [Mahmudullah] bhai when he was missing from the last three series. Now you are saying it (laughs). I think it is very irrelevant. You have again asked the wrong question. Towhid Hridoy replaced Riyad bhai."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84