Hasan Murad the new face in Shanto-led Test squad
Najmul Hossain Shanto was assigned the captaincy for Bangladesh's upcoming two-match Test series against New Zealand starting on November 28 at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
The 25-year-old left-handed batter will become the 13th player to captain Bangladesh in Tests, with regular skipper Shakib Al Hasan still out with a finger injury.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) announced the decision yesterday, naming a 15-member squad which saw left-arm spinner Hasan Murad receiving his maiden national call-up.
In seven innings in the recently concluded National Cricket League, Murad placed eighth on the wicket-takers' charts with 19 wickets, while off-spinner Nayeem Hasan, who made a return to the side, topped the chart with 34 scalps in 11 innings.
BCB made several changes, most of them being forced, as it brought in opener Shadman Islam, wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan Sohan, pacer Hasan Mahmud along with Murad and Nayeem in place of Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, and Mushfik Hasan.
The exclusion of Taskin, Ebadot and regular skipper Shakib was due to injury. As for Tamim, however, BCB is yet to sit down with the former captain to sort out his future following a dramatic run of events that saw him opt out of the World Cup.
Liton, who captained the Tigers in the one-off Test against Afghanistan earlier this year, was granted a one-month paternity leave. According to sources, the board had asked the right-handed batter to play in at least one match since the series is taking place at home but its request was turned down by the 29-year-old, who wanted to sit out the entirety of the series.
Selector Habibul Bashar rued the forced changes the selection panel had to make as Bangladesh start off the latest cycle of the ICC Test Championship with the New Zealand series.
"It would've been ideal for us if we could've played our regular side as we are going to start off the new cycle of the ICC test Championship with this series. The changes we made were forced owing to injuries," Bashar told The Daily Star.
Bashar admitted that the absence of Shakib is a blow considering the balance he provides but pointed out that losing Taskin and Ebadot -- both of whom have been regular starters in Tests-- has largely depleted the strength of the Tigers' pace unit.
"Losing Shakib isn't ideal. It is a big blow for us as his expertise with bat and ball is very important for the side. We have four spinners in our squad but the loss of Taskin and Ebadot has reduced our strength in pace bowling," he said.
The first Test will run from November 28 to December 2 before the action moves to Dhaka for the second Test running from December 6 to 10.