Bangladesh bring back Sabbir, Taskin
Bangladesh bring back Sabbir, Taskin

Sabbir & Taskin selected for NZ ODIs 2019

After the Bangladesh Cricket Board reduced his international ban, Sabbir Rahman has been included in the 15-member squad for the upcoming ODI series against New Zealand. The squad announcement also marks the comeback of pacer Taskin Ahmed while Naeem Hasan, still uncapped in 50-overs format, has been called-up as a back-up for Mehedy Hasan.

Sabbir was included despite a lukewarm run in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League, where his only noteworthy performance in six games is a knock of 85 against ODI skipper Mashrafe Mortaza’a side. Nonetheless, Sabbir remained the talking point during the press conference attended by the national selectors to announce the New Zealand-bound ODI squad.

The BCB had slapped Sabbir with a six-month ban from international cricket in September 2018 for his repeated off-field issues, the latest being a social network fiasco where he was alleged to have abused and threatened a fan on Facebook. According to the sanction Sabbir was expected to sit out of action until February end. However, chief selector Minhajul Abedin cleared the air saying that he was included only after the disciplinary committee indicated that his ban had been reduced by a month, while Mortaza remained adamant about Sabbir’s inclusion in the selection meeting.

Taskin Ahmed
Taskin Ahmed

“We were informed by the disciplinary committee that he is available [for selection] and after we got the clearance we included him in the squad. He is available from January 31 as the committee has reduced his ban by one month,” Minhajul told reporters on Wednesday (January 23).

“Let me make clear one thing about Sabbir. He was included due to strong insistence of the captain [Mortaza]. He firmly requested us to include him, and we have agreed with the captain,” Abedin added.

“The team wants someone in the squad who can bat lower in the order with the ability to handle the pacers well. We have included him keeping the New Zealand tour and the World Cup in mind. Let us see what he can do. The captain of the team and we are also confident about him.”

Pace bowler Taskin, who last played an ODI in 2017 before being dropped due lack of form and injury issues, also got his place back in both ODI and Test squads. Taskin was left out of the national team after his dismal show during Bangladesh’s South Africa tour back in 2017. He was recalled in the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka in 2018 but he failed to impress there as well.

Taskin has had a great run in the ongoing season of BPL for Sylhet Sixers, having taken 14 wickets in seven matches so far, which paved way for his return to the national side. “Taskin was suffering from injuries but he was under our rehabilitation programme. We have nursed him enough [for him] to get back to his old form. He has been doing in BPL, and that’s how he came back in contention,” said Abedin. “Taskin can bowl at express pace and that is something we considered before including him as this skill will be helpful in those conditions,”

Sabbir Rahman
Sabbir Rahman

Meanwhile, the Test squad also saw the return of Abu Jayed Rahi alongside Taskin, while Ariful Haque and Soumya Sarkar have been left out.

ODI squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Shakib al Hasan (VC) , Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Md Mithun, Md Saifuddin, Taskin Ahmed, Sabbir Rahman and Nayeem Hasan

Test squad: Shakib al Hasan (C), Mahmudullah, (VC), Tamim Iqbal, Shadman Islam, Mominul Haque, Md Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Jayed Rahi, Syed Khaled Ahmed, Nayeem Hasan