Mustafizur Rahman has been rested for the first Test, ahead of a busy season for Bangladesh © AFP
Mushfiqur Rahim has been named in Bangladesh’s 15-man squad for the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington, with the selectors expecting him to recover from his hamstring injury in time to play. Pace spearhead Mustafizur Rahman has been rested, meaning Taskin Ahmed – who is yet to debut in Test cricket – is likely to lead the bowling attack when the match gets underway on January 12.
Bangladesh have made two changes to the squad that was picked for their last Test, against England in Dhaka. Shuvagata Hom and Mosaddek Hossain have been left out while Rubel Hossain and Taskin are included in their place.
Bangladesh have already lost the ODI and T20 series, so a strong line-up was expected for the Test side. While the batting line-up remains similar to the one fielded in the other two formats, the pace-bowling attack is very inexperienced.
With 23 Tests, Rubel is by far the most experienced member of it. Like Taskin, Subashis Roy has never played in the longest format, while Kamrul Islam Rabbi has played just the two Tests. Three of these four will likely make the XI, with spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Mehedi Hasan (also only two Tests so far) likely to complete the bowling-line up.
The players outside of the squad who are present in New Zealand are Mustafizur, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mosaddek, Shuvagata, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Ebadat Hossain and Tanbir Hayder – Bangladesh have been taking their extended preliminary squad, which had trained in Australia earlier, along on this tour. A decision on which of these players to send home will be taken over the next couple of days.
The decision to rest Mustafizur comes ahead of a busy season for Bangladesh – they play a Test in India next month, followed by a full tour of Sri Lanka in March, before preparation for the Champions Trophy in England begins. He might feature in the second Test, though.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo