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Bangladesh squad for Pakistan T20Is: Mushfiqur-less Tigers bank on Tamim and Rubel's experience

Tamim Iqbal
Tamim Iqbal

The 15-man squad led by Mahmudullah is missing some big names like Mushfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza, Arafat Sunny, Abu Hider, Taijul Islam and Mosaddek Hossain.

Seasoned campaigners Tamim and Rubel return

Tamim Iqbal has been out of action and international cricket following a lean 2019 World Cup campaign, in which the opener managed only 235 runs at an average of under 30. He opted out of the Bangladesh tour of India due to personal reasons as he was about to become a father. Tamim, in the meanwhile, has also recovered from his groin injury and was declared fit for the series.

Experienced pace bowler Rubel Hossain, after a successful Bangladesh Premier League campaign, also returns to the side. Rubel had last played T20I cricket way back in August 2018 against West Indies. The slinger picked up 20 wickets from 13 matches in the tournament, bowling at an acceptable economy of 7.31 and ended as the the joint highest wicket-taker of the tournament.

Young quick Hasan Mahmud called up 

20-year-old pace bowler Hasan Mahmud is the only lesser-known face in the squad. Mahmud has played 13 T20 matches till now and has only picked up 10 wickets while conceding runs at close to 10 RPO.

His area of expertise has been in domestic cricket where he has starred for his domestic side with 24 wickets from only 9 matches. Mahmud has been picked in the T20I squad for his promise. He brings in an x-factor to the team but can be wayward at times.

Mushfiqur Rahim opts out

The biggest setback for the series is that wicketkeeper and senior batsman Mushfiqur Rahim has pulled out, citing personal reasons. After expressing himself verbally, he sent in a letter to the Bangladesh Cricket Board regarding his unavailability for the entire tour of Pakistan, which has been accepted.

"I am not going to Pakistan [for the whole tour] due to family reasons. Today I have submitted letter to the board and they have accepted it," he said after the BPL final.

"They [family] are scared and I cannot play my normal game carrying such mentality [thinking of my family reservation]. Certainly it was a difficult decision because if you say that I have to be rested from one series it is like a sin for me."

Arafat, Hider, Taijul and Mosaddek dropped

Arafat Sunny, Abu Hider, Taijul Islam and Mosaddek Hossain were part of the Bangladesh squad for the T20Is against India, but have not found a place in the squad. Taijul Islam did not have a great BPL season and managed only two wickets from nine games. The selectors have also preferred the experience of Rubel Hossain and the raw face of Hasan Mahmud over Arafat Sunny and Abu Hider.

Mosaddek Hossain aggregated just 190 runs from 8 innings in BPL and had one good knock, but was very slow to get off the blocks and scored at a strike rate of 106.14, which led to his exclusion.

Curtains for Mashrafe Mortaza

Mashrafe Mortaza, who has represented Bangladesh in 36 Tests, 217 ODIs and 54 T20Is and led the team in the ODI World Cup, has not been included in the squad. The 36-year-old had earlier turned down the central contract as well.

"I am just enjoying whatever I am playing now. I don't know whether I will retire from the field, I have not yet decided. There is a matter of selection. I don't automatically count myself in the team after taking one wicket in eight matches. If the selectors think that they will give me a chance, I will definitely try my best to fulfill their expectations," the former skipper said.

If reports are to be believed the medium-pace bowler had been offered a farewell game by the Bangladesh Cricket Board but Mortaza denied the send off, "Till yesterday, I was a centrally contracted cricketer with the cricket board but not anymore. I thank the BCB for considering me to give me a proper send-off, but I don't have much interest in it."

In all likelihood, Mortaza has already played his last international match.

Squad: Mahmudullah (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Moammad Naim, Najmul Hossain, Litton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Afif Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Aminul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Hasan Mahmud

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