sabbir rahman
Sabbir Rahman (AFP Photo)

The drama over the selection of controversial allrounder Sabbir Rahman for the New Zealand tour continues with Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza refuting the claims he asked national selectors specifically for him to be included in the squad.

However, he did recommended someone who could bat lower in the batting order and said the selectors might have picked Sabbir based on that.

“The selectors are the sole authority on choosing any player,” Mortaza was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz on Friday. “They wanted my opinion and I gave it to them with cricketing logic. I never told them that they must take Sabbir. They were probably convinced with my opinion and that’s why they picked him.”

Sabbir’s call-up came as a surprise due to the fact that he was suspended for his off-field behaviour last year which was to end on February 28. The 27-year-old was banned after allegedly threatening a fan on Facebook.

However, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief selector Minhajul Abedin said he was informed that the punishment was reduced by a month meaning the cricketer was available from January 31. “We were informed by the disciplinary committee that he is available [for selection] and after we got the clearance we included him in the squad. He is available from January 31 as the committee has reduced his ban by one month,” he said.

Abedin further added, “Let me make clear one thing about Sabbir. He was included due to the strong insistence of the captain [Mortaza]. He firmly requested us to include him, and we have agreed with the captain. The team wants someone in the squad who can bat lower in the order with the ability to handle the pacers well. We have included him keeping the New Zealand tour and the World Cup in mind. Let us see what he can do. The captain of the team and we are also confident about him.”