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The old fellow (!) Khaled Mahmud, the diminutive all rounder and an ex-member of the National Squad, is given the task to lead the Bangladesh-A team that are heading off for India on October 13, 2001. Mahmud's getting captaincy suggests no surprise because it was presumed that he is the only man in the team who can take such load with ease.
Mahmood was axed for nearly two years from the Bangladesh side and ruled out for the Test against India. He was included in the A team this year that ran its practice sessions in BKSP for months.
The declared 14-member squad has four players who played Tests and three of them are directly contracted with BCB as the national pool players.
Mehrab Hossain is one of the four luckiest members of Bangladesh who played all five Tests the team has so far played. It is quite surprising to find Mehrab's name in the A-team list. The selectors defended themselves saying that the right-handed opener needs more overseas matches to hone his knack, as his Test statistics is not imposing. Then what is wrong with Al-Sahariar or even the old hand Akram Khan? They too have poor streak of records that do not go in parallel with their genius. Why it's only Mehrab to hit their eyes?
We are swollen with pride for Ashraful's unique pull-off in Colombo, but that does not make us feel he should get a chance in the second best of Bangladeshi squads. He is already a Test player who has a brighter future and he has the Zimbabwe team to face in November. Why did the selectors opt for a rising star like him to play for Bangladesh-A? Is it simply because they want to shun defeats at the hand of Indian teams?
Since Bangladesh got the Test status, we should heave our morale a little higher. When we are thinking of sending the A-team we should send a bona fide A-team not like one that have a few national players added with it only to enhance its strength. I can say without a shred of doubt that India or any other Test playing nation would never go for such decision.
It is something that undermines a teams' self-worth and demean them to others. Besides these four inclusions have sidelined four youths, who have worked out hard with a dream to play for Bangladesh-A.
Think about the potentiality of a batsman like Rajin Saleh whose progress may face setbacks because of this inordinate decision. Niamur Rashid, the right-arm slow medium and a hard hitter batsman has to see the machete, same to say about the promising Ahsan Ullah Hasan, the left-arm offie.
The better part of the selection is the inclusion of Masrafee-Bin-Murtaza, more widely known as Kowshik, indisputably the fastest bowler of the country at present surely this chance would boost him up. The worse part is to keep Talha Jubair out and let Bikash Ranjan in. Talha drew close notice of Andy Roberts for his versatility and pace the West Indian was full of admiration of his brilliance. Bikash is a contracted player who bagged the experience of the inaugural Test and presently serving the National Squad.
We should be bolder in our approach giving a break to a young worthy candidate in the right direction in the right moment. That is the only way we can get a generation of flourishing cricketers to show our merit in this game.