Afif and Naim are two of several changes that Bangladesh are looking into as they prepare to play 50-over cricket for the first time since July last year. Mashrafe Mortaza, who according to the BCB chief Nazmul Hassan will be playing his last series as captain, is back and so are Najmul Hossain Shanto, Liton Das, Al-Amin Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin and Shafiul Islam.
This squad has been picked only for the first two matches of the series. It had no place for Mosaddek Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Anamul Haque, Farhad Reza and Taskin Ahmed, while Soumya Sarkar is said to be taking a break for personal reasons.
Mosaddek is injured but the others haven’t been in Bangladesh’s plans for some time now. Taskin is in the Test squad currently playing against Zimbabwe, but he didn’t make the XI. Rubel is an interesting exclusion though. He is usually considered a shoe-in for one-day games.
“It is great to have Mortaza back as his experience and leadership is vital to our one day cricket,” chief selector Minhajul Abedin said. “Mohammad Saifuddin is also key to the team’s balance. We had to make certain adjustments in the last ODI series we had played in as a number of cricketers were unavailable due to various reasons but I am happy that we now have a fit pool of players to select from. Shanto’s current form in international and domestic cricket gets him into the team while Naim and Afif are also part of our long term plan for the shorter version.”
Bangladesh will play the ODI series against Zimbabwe in Sylhet on March 1, 3 and 6.