Mehedi recalled as a ‘genuine off-spinner’

Mehedi Hasan Miraz returned home from Sri Lanka immediately after Bangladesh’s historic four-wicket win in the second and final Test against Sri Lanka on March 19.
However, the young off-spinner took a flight to Colombo yesterday and will join the team in Dambulla after the team management suddenly felt the need for another off-spinner considering that Sri Lanka have a number of left-handed batsmen in their ODI squad.
Interestingly, Sri Lanka Cricket had announced their 15-member ODI squad on March 17, while the second Test was ongoing, so Bangladesh’s team management had enough time to look into the home side. Apparently the selectors accommodated off-spinning all-rounder Shuvagata Hom in the initially declared 16-member ODI team ahead of Mehedi, who found a place in the Emerging Teams Asia Cup.
There is nothing wrong with adding more players to the team at the last moment, but the question is that since Hom is still with the team, why did the team management suddenly call Mehedi back and why were they so late to realise that Sri Lanka have many left-handers in their squad?
“The team management felt that it would be good to include another off-spinner in the squad considering the fact that there are a number of left-handers in the opponent’s team. There is nothing wrong if management has any additional requirements. Yes Shuvagata is there, but what’s wrong if the team fields two off-spinners in a match? On the other hand, we have the ICC Champions Trophy, so we would need a genuine off-spinner,” explained chief selector Minhajul Abedin yesterday.
“The initial plan was that Miraz would play only Test cricket at this moment, but the team management now has changed their mind and that’s why he was called back,” said selector Habibul Bashar.
When asked, team manager Khaled Mahmud, who is also a selector, said: “When the squad was given we had already decided to send Miraz back. Then we thought that we needed a back-up since there are so many left-handed batsmen in their side. We took the decision later, with the coach and the team management.”
He also said that the decision was made after the practice match.
“Yes, after seeing the practice match we thought that we needed another off-spinner.”
Though Shuvagata has long been considered a genuine off-spinner, Mahmud said that they recalled Mehedi as they needed a genuine off-spinner.
“Yes [Shuvagata is there], but we need a backup since we don’t have many genuine off-spinners. We have two left-arm spinners in Shakib [Al-Hasan] and Sanjamul [Haque]. You can say that the decision was influenced by the practice match,” defended Mahmud.
Meanwhile, off-break bowler Naeem Hasan has replaced Mehedi in the Bangladesh squad for the Emerging Teams Asia Cup.

-With The Daily Star input

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