After New Zealand, Australia and India, Bangladesh have announced their 15-man squad for the ICC World Cup 2019. While most names in the group are unsurprising, the inclusion of Abu Jayed – yet uncapped in ODIs – and Mosaddek Hossain is worth noting.
Jayed, a medium-paced seamer, played in Bangladesh's last Test assignment – the two-Test series in New Zealand – and produced a lion-hearted effort in an otherwise forgettable tour for his team. His ability to swing the ball may have earned him a call-up to the national ODI team due to expected conditions in England.
Mosaddek Hossain hasn't been in Bangladesh's one-day team since 2018. But selectors have decided to trust his talent – as they see it – and decided to hand him the one additional batting spot that was left in the team after all the usual suspects and incumbents had been picked.
Bangladesh squad for World Cup: Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (WK), Mahmudullah, Shakib-al-Hasan, Mohammad Mithun, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Abu Jayed
Composition of the team
What's noticeable is the fact that Bangladesh have picked only one frontline spinner – Mehidy Hasan Miraz. With Shakib-Al-Hasan in the side, the selectors have decided that at most they will need one more spinner to assist the all-rounder. On top of that, Mahmudullah can also chip in with a few overs, if required. Only four pacers and as many as 10 batsmen have been included in the 15-man group. This seems excessive but may also reflect a lack of confidence on part of the selectors towards their batsmen.
Analysis of the squad
Tamim, Mushfiqur, Mahmudullah, Shakib are the four certainties in the batting line-up. Three spots remain for the rest of the batsmen. Either Soumya Sarkar or Liton Das would open the innings with Tamim and the other may well be slotted in at no. 3. That would leave a lower middle-order berth for the remaining contenders. This will have to be a pick based on the assessment of the team management.
Mashrafe will be the leader of the bowling attack and the other three would compete for the remaining two places. Rubel Hossain has experience on his side but Mustafizur's skills come in handy in death overs. Abu Jayed may be brought in if the conditions are swing-friendly. The sole frontline spinner – Mehidy – is yet to prove himself in unhelpful conditions. It the pitches aren't dry, he may well sit out in favour of a four-man pace attack.
The Tigers have consistently improved their performance in the showpiece event of one-day cricket. Except for the 2003 edition where they endured a miserable time – even losing a match to Canada – they have defeated one or more major Test-playing nation in every edition. Twice they have qualified for the second round and in the 2017 Champions Trophy held in the same country, England, as this year's World Cup, they were the semi-finalists.
Qualifying for the semis this time around looks very difficult for Bangladesh. But it would be very surprising if they don't register at least two wins in the tournament. The only concern remains whether having just one-frontline spinner would restrict them if the pitches are dry. Otherwise, they have capable batsmen, canny bowlers and one of the best all-rounders in Shakib.