Bangladesh Cut Squad to 12
27 Feb 2006
By: George Roberts
Bangladesh have chopped their initial 15-man shortlist down to a twelve man squad for tomorrow's first Test against Sri Lanka in Chittagong. Despite encouraging one-day performances, in-form batsman Aftab Ahmed is discarded, along with Under-19 captain Mushfiqur Rahim and Tapash Baisya, who is still on the path to recovery following a long term injury. Nafees Iqbal, ignored in the shorter form of the game, returns thanks to a timely hundred in the National Cricket League, and Alok Kapali, who was recently recalled to the team following a lengthy absence, maintains his position in the squad.
With Mashrafe bin Mortaza, the spearhead of an otherwise lightweight seam attack rested on the physio's recommendation, it will be left for raw duo Shahadat Hossain and Syed Rasel to lead the attack, just as they did against the same opposition in September. The main thrust of the bowling will come from a combination of youth and experience: left-arm spinners Enamul Haque jnr and Mohammad Rafique will be relied upon to take the majority of the tourists wickets.
Off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is also on the prowl, requiring just 16 wickets in the two match series to reach 600 Test wickets. He leads a rare attack all seeking to confirm their potential, and to cement their positions in the Sri Lankan line-up once the regulars, such as the absent Chaminda Vaas, return.
1 Javed Omar, 2 Shahriar Nafees, 3 Habibul Bashar (c), 4 Mohammad Ashraful, 5 Nafees Iqbal, 6 Rajin Saleh or Alok Kapali, 7 Khaled Mashud (w), 8 Mohammad Rafique, 9 Syed Rasel, 10 Shahadat Hossain, 11 Enamul Haque jnr
1 Upul Tharanga, 2 Michael Vandort, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (w), 4 Mahela Jayawardene (c), 5 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 6 Thilan Samaraweera, 7 Farveez Maharoof, 8 Malinga Bandara, 9 Muttiah Muralitharan, 10 Dilhara Fernando, 11 Lasith Malinga