Another muddled selection

Sports Reporter

The chaotic scenario regarding team selection for the Sri Lanka series continues to dumbfound everyone as the Tigers’ limited overs skipper Shakib Al Hasan yesterday all but ruled himself out of the upcoming T20I series, just a day after he was included as captain of the 15-member squad.

The all-rounder suffered an injury to the little finger on his left hand during the ODI tri-series final on January 27, and was subsequently ruled out for the two-match Test series.

However, the team management, on Saturday, included Shakib in the T20I series, only for the all-rounder himself to inform the media on the following day that he was doubtful for the series.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is, however, yet to make any formal declaration as to whether he will be excluded from the squad.

“I don’t know if it was announced officially, but I think I might not be able to play the T20 series as well,” Shakib told reporters yesterday during a programme where he was officially appointed as a goodwill ambassador of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

“The doctor has said that I would need another two weeks to recover from the injury which means I will be missing the series. After recovering, I will go through rehabilitation and start training where I will be able to make a return for the tri-series in Sri Lanka,” Shakib added.

The first of the two Twenty20 matches will be held in Dhaka on February 15, with the second scheduled for Sylhet on February 18.

It was learnt that Shakib’s bandage was removed on Saturday and that the doctor found the injured area had not yet healed. However, the selectors announced the T20 squad earlier on the same day apparently without being aware of the pace of his recovery. It was also learnt that Shakib himself was present during the team selection meeting on Saturday, and that his inclusion was made with his consent.

So the question that rises here is whether Shakib’s inclusion was simply a publicity stunt or was it the consequence of a massive overhaul in the whole selection process? Or was it just a case of a muddled selection in the aftermath of defeats in the ODI series final and the Test series.

This was not the first decision during the Sri Lanka series that raised eyebrows; the selection of veteran Abdur Razzak, who had not played a Test match in the past four years, and that of out-of-form Sabbir Rahman, also raised a lot of eyebrows.

According to chief selector Minhajul Abedin, the selectors were aware of the fact that Shakib had little chance to take part in the first T20I.

“We knew that he was highly unlikely to play the first T20 but since we are yet to receive any official report from the doctor we can’t keep him out of the squad. Even if he is unavailable for the first game, we are hopeful of having him for the next one. But we are not going take any risks as he will only return after becoming fully fit,” Minhajul told reporters yesterday.

There was no official confirmation from the BCB till yesterday whether Shakib will remain in the squad and if not, who will be leading the T20 side. Interestingly, there was also confusion over Shakib’s deputy in the squad.

It has been learnt that BCB president Nazmul Hassan, who is currently in Dubai for ICC’s general meeting and expected to return tomorrow, is likely to hold a video conference with the board officials regarding the matter today.