Bangladesh's cricketing horizon is witnessing a fresh dawn as the selectors announced the highly anticipated Bangladesh Asia Cup squad.
The spotlight is on 22-year-old Tanzid Hasan, fondly nicknamed ‘Tamim', who has earned his first-ever call-up to the ODI side. This strategic move comes as a cover for the seasoned Tamim Iqbal, who is on the mend from a back injury.
The 17-man squad, announced by Chief Selector Minhajul Abedin on Saturday, saw the return of batter Shamim Hossain, all-rounder Mahedi Hasan, and left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed. This announcement came hot on the heels of Shakib Al Hasan's appointment as the ODI captain just a day prior.
Mohammad Naim, who showcased his prowess against Afghanistan last month, is another top-order batsman that the team is keenly eyeing.
Shamim Hossain's commendable performance in the recent T20Is against Afghanistan has earned him a well-deserved spot in the ODI team.
Meanwhile, Mahedi Hasan's inclusion is expected to bolster the spin bowling department in the Bangladesh Asia Cup squad.
Mahmudullah misses Bangladesh Asia Cup squad 2023
However, the selection process wasn't without its share of dilemmas. The future of veteran cricketer Mahmudullah in the ODI setup remained a significant talking point.
Having last played an ODI against England in March, Mahmudullah's absence from the subsequent series raised eyebrows. Despite speculations, Mahmudullah remains sidelined, with younger talents like Shamim, Afif Hossain, and Mahedi being prioritized.
Addressing the media, Abedin stated, “We held extensive discussions about Mahmudullah. After evaluating the opposition and playing conditions, we decided to leave him out. Both the coach and captain are in agreement with this decision.”
Tamim Iqbal, who recently stepped down from ODI captaincy, is undergoing rehabilitation for his back injury. He consulted a specialist in London last month and is hopeful of returning for the ODI series against New Zealand starting September 21.
Among the newer faces, Tanzid Hasan's recent performances have been noteworthy.
He notched up three half-centuries in the ACC Emerging Nations Cup and had a commendable run in the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) last season. Abedin expressed confidence in Tanzid, stating, “He has been groomed under the High Performance programme and has shown promise in the Emerging Cup.”
Bangladesh is set to kick off their Asia Cup campaign against Sri Lanka in Pallekele on August 31.
Shakib starts his newest captaincy reign
In a significant development last night, Shakib was named the ODI captain of Bangladesh once more, following Tamim Iqbal's unexpected resignation on August 3. Tamim's decision came in the wake of a back injury that ruled him out of the forthcoming Asia Cup.
Shakib's appointment as captain in the Bangladesh Asia Cup squad came at a pivotal juncture for the team. After the Asia Cup, the team hosted New Zealand for an ODI series in September. Subsequently, they embarked on a journey to India to participate in the ODI World Cup, which commenced on October 5.
With the weight of leadership on his shoulders, Shakib is expected to steer the team through these crucial tournaments, capitalizing on his vast experience.
Bangladesh Asia Cup squad 2023
Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Das, Tanjid Hasan Tamim, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Towhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mamhud, Mahedi Hasan, Nasum Ahmed, Shamim Hossain, Afif Hossain, Shoriful Islam, Ebadot Hossain, Mohammad Naim