Ashraful in, Nafees out of Lanka series

Mohammad Ashraful will replace Shahriar Nafees in Bangladesh’s fifteen man squad that leaves for Sri Lanka Thursday. The maverick right-hander found himself drafted back into the national fold following a year-long absence, to fill in the void left by Nafees.The left-hander had earlier pulled himself out of reckoning after picking up a freak injury while cleaning his bat.
Ashraful’s last appearance in a Test match was in December 2011 in a tough encounter at home to Pakistan. Understandably then, the top-order batsman was delighted to find himself back in the national fold for the longest version of the game.
“I am extremely delighted. The fact that the selectors have chosen me outside the preliminary squad shows that they rely on me and for my part I want to perform well in Sri Lanka to give them their due return,” he said.
Ashraful also owed his recall partly to Nafees, who could count himself terribly unlucky to be missing out on the tour. The left-hander needed five stitches after cutting his hand on Monday while cleaning his bat at home.
Initial physiotherapist reports suggested that he would be fit in time for the first Test, but Nafees, personally, felt otherwise.
“Nafees told me that he needs more time to prepare,” said chief selector Akram Khan. “He said that this was not club cricket and that adjusting to foreign conditions would take some time,” added Akram.
Akram also informed that the medical staff had given a similar report for Tamim Iqbal, who had hurt his left wrist during the Bangladesh Premier League.
“There is a 50-50 chance of Tamim playing the practice match. But I talked to him yesterday and he is recovering well. There is a 90 per cent chance of him playing the first Test match,” he added.
The chief selector also suggested that Ashraful was only picked into the squad because of injuries and not due to bursts of runs in the Bangladesh Premier League.
“My plan was to take Ashraful in the team only after he showed more consistency in his batting. But the injuries have compelled us to take this decision,” said Akram who also lamented the recent spate of injuries that have crippled the team.
Captain Mushfiqur Rahim though was more positive about Ashraful’s inclusion.
“He has a very good record against Sri Lanka and if he can play consistent cricket it will be great for us,” said Mushfiq yesterday.
“Our batting order has a number of new comers. There’s Marshall, Bijoy and Anamul. And even Shakib is not there. So the responsibility is almost three times on the senior players. Now that a senior player is in the side, we can share the responsibility,” he added.
(Source: Agencies)

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