Mortaza to miss home tri-series

DHAKA: Bangladesh today left out first-choice captain and fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza for a one-day tri-series that begins next week after he failed to recover quickly enough from a knee injury.

Mortaza, 26, damaged his knee during the first Test of a tour of the West Indies in July. The injury ruled him out of the rest of the tour and the subsequent ODI series against Zimbabwe both home and away. However, he was selected for the tri-series and was named captain for the tournament as well as the following two-Test series at home against India.

Chief selector Rafiqul Alam said Mortaza had yet to regain full match fitness. “Mortaza is 80 per cent fit. We are not taking any risk with him,” he said. All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who as a stand-in captain led Bangladesh to victories against the West Indies and Zimbabwe, has been named as the captain. Wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim will be his deputy.

Opener Shahriar Nafees Ahmed and middle-order batsman Aftab Ahmed make a return to the side after being banned for joining the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) last year. “They both performed well in the domestic cricket. Aftab is also a useful medium pacer,” Alam said.

Fast bowler Shafiul Islam, 22, was the only new face in the side, having impressed selectors in the just-concluded premier division cricket league. “He bowls well and is mature enough to cope with international pressure,” Alam said.

The tri-series, which has India and Sri Lanka as the other two teams, begins in Dhaka on January 4. It will be followed by two Tests against India at Chittagong (January 17-21) and Dhaka (January 24-28).

Squad: Shakib Al Hasan (captain) Mushfiqur Rahim (vice-captain), Mohammad Ashraful, Tamim Iqbal, Roqibul Hassan, Mahmud Ullah Riyad, Naeem Islam, Abdur Razzak, Syed Rasel, Nazmul Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Imrul Kayes, Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Shafiul Islam.