Mahmudullah puts onus on Bangladesh’s rookies to deliver
Mahmudullah is counting on Bangladesh's young crop to deliver. © Getty

Bangladesh‘s stand-in captain Mahmudullah has called on the team’s crop of young players to make up for the absence of the veteran pair of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim in the first Test against New Zealand.

Having lost all three ODIs on tour, Bangladesh head into the opening Test in Hamilton without Shakib, back home nursing a fractured finger, and Mushfiqur who is suffering wrist pain. (READ: Mushfiqur Rahim doubtful, Mohammad Mithun returns for first Test)

The Bangladesh squad includes rookies such as the opener Shadman Islam and pace bowler Khaled Ahmed, each capped in one Test, the offspinner Nayeem Hasan, with two Tests to his name, three-Test pace bowler Abu Jayed and the uncapped seam bowler Ebadat Hossain.

Mahmudullah, who will lead Bangladesh in Shakib’s absence as he did at home against Zimbabwe last year, called on these youngsters to step up.

“Mushfiqur is getting better. But perhaps we are not getting him in the first match,” he wass quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. “Along with Mushfiqur, Shakib Al Hasan also has been an integral part of our team. It is really tough to set our best combination without them. I hope those who are getting chances to replace them will perform well and grab those chances. (READ: ‘Anybody can beat anybody’: Kane Williamson braced for Bangladesh challenge)

“Rahi [Abu Jayed] is our premier fast bowler. He has played some matches and performed well. We have Ebadat Hossain, a new talent, who can bowl at a great pace. And we also have Mustafizur (Rahman). Everyone has ideas about his capabilities. Now our main focus is to execute our plan in the middle.”