Why Mahmudullah is not in the Asia Cup squad

Mahmudullah didn't make the cut in the 17-man squad for the Asia CupShamsul Hoque

Shakib Al Hasan, Litton Das, Tanzid Hasan… one by one chief selector Minhajul Abedin took the names of 17 players who are part of Bangladesh’s Asia Cup squad. Minhajul had to say the names a second time after a request from the journalists present in the press conference on Saturday. Mahmudullah was not among the 17 names.

Mahmudullah was not included in Bangladesh’s previous three One-Day International (ODI) series’ as well. But after seeing Mahmudullah’s lively presence in the Bangladesh team’s training sessions, it seemed that the veteran cricketer is set for a recall to the national team.

But that wasn’t to be as on Saturday the selectors announced the Bangladesh squad for the Asia Cup sans Mahmudullah.

However, axing Mahmudullah wasn’t an easy decision for the selectors, which was apparent from what Minhajul said, “We had a long discussion about Mahmudullah. The team management sent us its plan, detailing how the team will play against each opponent. We spoke with the management and the captain, then we took the decision.”

Mahmudullah was active in the national team's training camp leading up to the Asia Cup
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A lot has been said in the media about Soumya Sarkar. But Minhajul said, the selectors didn’t really consider Soumya for the Asia Cup, “Soumya Sarkar has a lot of experience. But we didn’t really discuss a lot about him for the Asia Cup.”

The chief selector revealed the player they debated the most about was Afif Hossain. Afif batted in two matches in last month’s ODI series against Afghanistan, where he scored four and 0 respectively.

Still, the left-hander made it into the 17-member squad. Minhajul explained his inclusion by saying, “We had a lengthy discussion about Afif, about why the management wanted him in the squad. There were a few more factors, the captain’s preference was also considered. So, we decided to give him a chance.”

Afif Hossain
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Mohammad Naim returned to the national team with the series against Afghanistan. In that series, he was picked in two matches, where he scored nine and 0. Still, Naim made the cut for the Asia Cup.

“As Naim has international experience, we decided to give him another chance. He also did well in the Emerging Asia Cup. Hopefully, he will do well this time,” said the former Bangladesh captain.

Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam was part of the squad in the Afghanistan series. But he hasn’t been picked for the Asia Cup. In Taijul’s place, left-arm spinner Nasum has been selected. Minhajul explained this decision by saying, “Taijul is an attacking bowler. Nasum is more defensive. After seeing the management’s plans, we leaned towards Nasum. In the Asia Cup we will have to play on flat pitches, that’s why we considered Nasum.”

Along with Nasum, spin bowling all-rounder Mahedi Hasan also returned to the ODI squad. He last played for Bangladesh in last year’s Asia Cup. He was also struggling with a shoulder problem. Mahedi impressed with the bat and ball in the Emerging Teams Asia Cup and as reward, once again returned to the national team.

“He suffered a shoulder injury in the BPL. Now he has returned. As he did well in the Emerging Asia Cup, we are hopeful that he will showcase his abilities in the Asia Cup,” Minhajul said.

The chief selector was also optimistic about all-rounder Shamim Hossain, who has played 17 Twenty20s but is yet to make his debut in ODIs.

Shamim Hossain
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“Shamim was part of our High performance Unit. After he got selected in the national team, he went through a lean patch in 2021. Now he is doing well. He has done well in the previous few T20 series as well,” said Minhajul.

Tanzid Hasan Tamim earned his maiden call up to the Bangladesh squad in the Asia Cup. He was Bangladesh’s highest run-scorer in the Emerging Teams Asia Cup with 179 runs in four matches. Minhajul has highly optimistic about Tanzid, “We are very confident about Tanzid. He did well in the Emerging Asia Cup. Hopefully, he will do well for the country.”

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Earlier, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) had said many times that the Asia Cup squad will effectively be the squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup, set to take place in India on October-November.

But on Saturday, Minhajul had a different tune, “There is a deadline for squad announcement for the Asia Cup. Before the World Cup, we have the ODI series against New Zealand. The ICC also has a deadline for squad submission (For World Cup). We will announce the squad before that.”