Mustafizur returns for Zimbabwe Tests; maiden call-ups for Mithun and Nazmul
Mustafizur Rahman (Getty Image)

For their two-Test series against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh have recalled left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman and handed maiden call-ups to four players in Ariful Haque, Mohammad Mithun, Khaled Ahmed and Nazmul Islam. They will be led by Mahmudullah in the absence of Shakib Al Hasan, who continues to recover from a finger injury sustained during the Asia Cup.

A toe injury had kept Mustafizur from featuring in the Test series against West Indies but having completely healed, the 23-year-old is set to play his first Test since February against Sri Lanka. Khaled boasts a strong performance in the domestic circuit with 48 wickets in 20 First-Class matches. He also impressed in the Ireland A series picking up 10 wickets in six innings.

“We are nursing Khaled in the High-Performance unit for a long time. At present the amount of pace bowlers that we have in the HP unit, he is the fastest and we believe he can be real asset for the future. While he also did well in the Ireland tour with Bangladesh A team,” BCB chief selector Minhajul Abedin said on Thursday.

Like Khaled, Ariful too has left quite the impact. Playing for Rangpur, the 25-year-old batsman scored 231 against Rajshahi in the National Cricket League. “At home soil you need few batsmen late in the order who can score runs quickly and as our wickets are slow, its importance gets even bigger. And due to that we included Ariful,” Minhajul said. “Ariful also bowled medium pace in the National Cricket League so we can use him as a third seamer as well.”

Nazmul Islam, 27, early into his limited-over career, has played four ODIs and 13 T20Is, but has shown potential with wickets in both formats. The other notable exclusions are that of Tamil Iqbal, another casualty, along with Kamrul Islam, Rubel Hossain and Nurul Hasan. With just one wicket between them during the two Tests against West Indies, Kamrul and Rubel’s exclusions comes as no surprise.

‘We tried to put our best possible team and considering West Indies failed to impress recently they will try to come hard against us. We formed the team thinking for the present and future and we need to make sure we end the series on a high to have the best possible confidence ahead of the series against West Indies,” said Minhajul.

The first Test between the two teams take place on November 3 in Sylhet. The last time Bangladesh and Zimbabwe faced each other was in 2014 where Zimbabwe lost 0-3.

Bangladesh Test squad: Mahmudullah (c), Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Mominul Haque, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Ariful Haque, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Mithun, Khaled Ahmed, Nazmul Islam