The much-talked-about two-tier national selection panel began their tenure with an element of surprise as they included as many as seven pace bowlers in their 20-member squad for the series against Afghanistan and England. Tigers’ recent success came on the back of some commendable performance by the pace bowlers that looked to have prompted the Minhajul Abedin-led new selection panel. As a result it seemed they simply ignored some experienced spinners, who were expected to pose more threat for visiting sides.
Skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza was joined by Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Al Amin Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Subhasish Roy and pace bowling all-rounder Alauddin Babu.
Chief selector Minhajul Abedin told New Age on Wednesday that they are aware of England’s perennial weakness against spin bowling but preferred to back Bangladesh’s new-found strength, which earned them the recent success.
‘Our pacers did well against South Africa, India and Pakistan who are known to be good players of pace bowling so there is no use in losing our faith from the local pacers,’ said Minhajul.
‘It might look we picked quite a few pacer bowlers if you consider the number but the proportion will fall when we will reduce the 20-man pool to 14-member squad before the series,’ he said.
‘We will try to play with three pace bowlers as that reaped us benefit.’
Minhajul said that they picked this large contingent of pacers in the squad as they are also looking forward to prepare Bangladesh batsmen well enough against Afghanistan and England, who mostly operate with pacers.
‘It is not mandatory that we prepare the squad from the pool of ODI cricketers as it is our home series. We can pick players from anywhere if necessary.
‘We picked many pacers as we want to have some specialised training camp. Injury is another reason we opted for so many pacers.’
Minhajul said they picked up Alahuddin Babu outside the 30-man preliminary squad as a back-up to Mashrafee, who is injury-prone.
‘If Mashrafee is injured we would be needed someone who can hold the bat and also perform as a pace bowler.
‘At present we don’t see many options in this regard apart from Alauddin Babu as he is quite good in late order,’ said Minhajul.
Minhajul added that left-arm pacer Shubhasish Roy was included as he has been considered as a future prospect.
‘Shubhasish is a young kid doing well in the domestic circuit and this kind of reward can only motivate him to do well to earn a permanent place in the squad,’ said the chief selector.
According to insiders, former West Indies great Courtney Walsh was highly impressed with the bowling of Shafiul Islam in his first few training session as Tigers’ coach.
The way Shafiul used the seam during the practice session and his ability to land the ball with the seam-up did not go unnotice from the eyes of Walsh.
-With New Age input