Bangladesh are all set to announce their 15-man squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 on Tuesday, 16 April. With their last ODI assignment a 3-0 defeat to New Zealand, several issues are currently at play for the Tigers.
1. Should Imrul Kayes return to the side? Kayes’ omission seemed baffling prior to the tour of New Zealand, and as Bangladesh struggled for runs from their top order across the three-match series, his omission became even more puzzling. While Kayes struggled against West Indies at the end of last year, prior to that, three innings against Zimbabwe in October accumulated 349 runs at an average of 116. It seems hard not to envision the left-hander in Bangladesh’s 15-man squad.
2. Who’s fit? Herein lies a significant issue for Bangladesh, with a significant number of injury concerns ahead of the tournament. Their leading left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman is currently struggling with an ankle problem, Mahmudullah has only recently started training after a shoulder injury, while Rubel Hossain has a side strain. While the BCB’s chief physician, Debashis Chowdhury, told AFP that all should be fit come the World Cup, it does not bode well for the side ahead of their tri-nation tournament against Ireland and West Indies, set to begin on 5 May.
3. Before the World Cup gets underway, Bangladesh will contest a tri-series against Ireland and West Indies, the squad for which will be announced at the same time as the World Cup squad.
The Tigers are set to name 17 players to head to Ireland, and have suggested that for those players left out of the initial World Cup squad, it will be a last chance to curry favour and encourage a late alteration to the group for the main event. Make sure to follow both announcements closely.
4. It’s no secret that Bangladesh’s main weapon, historically, has been their spinners, and to an extent that remains true. Left-armer Shakib Al Hasan and off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz have been two of their standout bowlers in recent times, each claiming over 20 wickets at economy rates near four an over than five an over since the start of 2018.
Beyond them however, their slow bowling options look thin, with no other twirler taking more than six wickets in that time. Will they back their tried and tested method and pick some back-ups, or rely on Mahmudullah’s part-time offerings should one of their main two tweakers sustain an injury?
5. Since the start of 2018, a neat XI of players have made it into double digits in ODI caps for Bangladesh, and it would be surprise if any of that core group don’t win selection.
Outside of them however, it’s all up for grabs, with plenty of players having been given a chance without fully establishing themselves. Most have legitimate reasons to be hopeful, but none can be fully sure of their places, and so the announcement promises to be fascinating.
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