Cricket

Tamim Iqbal returns for Bangladesh’s T20I tour of Pakistan

Hasan Mahmud, the 20-year-old medium pacer, is the only new face in Bangladesh’s 15-man squad – which doesn’t include veteran Mushfiqur Rahim, who opted out citing security concerns – for the three-match T20I series in Pakistan later this month.

Mahmudullah will continue to lead the side, which has a few other changes from the one that lost 2-1 on the tour of India late last year. Abu Hider, Arafat Sunny, Mosaddek Hossain and Taijul Islam have been left out, while Tamim Iqbal makes a comeback after last playing for Bangladesh in an ODI in Sri Lanka in July 2019.

Offspinning allrounder Mahedi Hasan, batsman Najmul Hossain Shanto and Rubel Hossain have also been brought in.

Following a mediocre World Cup campaign, in which he scored just 235 runs at an average of 29.37, Tamim had taken some time off to work on his game and his fitness. He subsequently skipped the tour of India to be with his pregnant wife, and, more recently, had a decent time in the Bangladesh Premier League, where he scored 396 runs in 12 innings, but his runs came at a poor strike rate of 109.39.

His team-mate at Dhaka Platoon, Mahedi, was one of the side’s better performers, hitting 253 runs at a strike rate of 136.02 after being promoted in the batting order, and also picking up 12 wickets at an economy rate lower than seven. Shanto also did well, the 115 not out against Dhaka one of the innings of the tournament, while senior quick Rubel was one of four bowlers – all pacers – at the top of the wicket-takers’ pile for the tournament with 20 strikes apiece.

The three matches will take place in Lahore, on January 24, 25 and 27 – Bangladesh will reach Pakistan a day before the first game and leave the day after the last fixture.

Bangladesh’s tour was confirmed only on January 14 after much negotiating between the two boards. While the BCB had initially said it would only tour Pakistan for T20Is but not for the scheduled Tests due to security reasons, the two boards eventually drew up a plan according to which Bangladesh will visit Pakistan over three legs – first, for three T20Is, then for the first Test from February 7 to 11, and finally for one ODI and one more Test between April 3 and 9.

Along with Mushfiqur, the touring party will also miss a number of their support staffers. White-ball batting coach Neil McKenzie and fielding coach Ryan Cook both withdrew from the tour, while Daniel Vettori, the spin consultant, was not asked to travel because it’s a short tour. Mario Villavarayan, the strength and conditioning coach, is out of action with a fractured arm, while team analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekaran, being Indian, was allowed to skip touring as well.

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1213430.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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