Bangladesh dropped off-spinner Mehidy Hasan and pace bowler Rubel Hossain in a new-look Twenty20 squad named Tuesday for the first two matches of the tri-nations series against Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. All-rounder Ariful Haque, pace bowler Abu Hider, spinner Nazmul Islam and batsman Mohammad Mithun were also left out from Bangladesh's last Twenty20 squad that played the West Indies in December 2018. Opening batter Tamim Iqbal was not included after asking for a break from international cricket. Young pace bowler Yeasin Arafat and left-arm spinner Taijul Islam received their first Twenty20 call-ups while Afif Hossain and Mahedi Hasan return after playing just one Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka in 2018.
"We want to see some players for the next Twenty20 World Cup. This is why we changed the squad," said chief selector Minhajul Abedin. Batsmen Sabbir Rahman and Mosaddek Hossain also received a call-up as Bangladesh prepare to begin the series against Zimbabwe in Dhaka's Sher-e Bangla National Stadium on Thursday.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended Zimbabwe in July over a failure to keep the sport free from government interference, putting the country's participation in multi-nation events in doubt. Afghanistan are the third team in the tournament scheduled to be held from September 13 to 24. Bangladesh was originally scheduled to play a bilateral series against Afghanistan in September, but officials said Zimbabwe had been included in the series following a request from the strife-torn country. The tri-series will be preceded by Afghanistan's maiden Test match against Bangladesh in Chittagong from September 5 to 9.
"We have been informed by the concerned officials that there is no bar on Zimbabwe playing in bilateral matches.cThey are only suspended from ICC events. This is why we included them in the series," BCB spokesman Jalal Yunus told media sources.
Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Taijul Islam, Mahedi Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur Rahman and Yeasin Arafat.