The 12th edition of Asia Cup is just one week to start but Bangladesh are yet to finalise their plan due to fitness concerns of several key players.
Ace all-rounder Sakib al Hasan, opener Tamim Iqbal and middle-order batsman Nazmul Hossain have been suffering from injury problems in their fingers, leaving the Tigers still unsettled.
The Tigers who will leave home on Sunday for UAE were still unsure about their opening pair and number three batsman.
The injury concerns of these vital players made the selectors and the team management bringing top-order batsman Mominul Haque to the squad as backup player though his role in the team is uncertain.
Mominul, who made his last appearance in white-ball cricket in 2015 for the Tigers, had a fabulous run with Bangladesh A in their last tour in Ireland where he scored 297 runs at an average of 74.25 in four innings of one-day series.
Chief selector Minhajul Abedin claimed that the injury worries of Tamim and Nazmul made them thinking of adding Mominul in the Asia Cup squad.
‘Mominul was picked as Shanto [Nazmul Hossain] has some pain in his finger. He may need five days to get completely fit. Tamim [Iqbal] has an old injury in his finger too. However we didn’t find any problem after getting the physio report. As a backup player we named Mominul as we might need him during the tournament if someone feels any trouble,’ Minhajul told reporters at his residence on Friday.
Selectors had the option to recall Soumya Sarkar to solve their top-order problem, but a Bangladesh Cricket Board official said they added Mominul considering the Sakib factor too.
Sakib’s availability in Asia Cup hit the headlines for quite sometimes as the 31-year old cricketer was keen to skip the Asia Cup to have a surgery on a finger.
But the BCB high-ups insisted on playing him in the tournament putting the surgery on hold until October, when they would host Zimbabwe at home.
The decision already appeared to hunt BCB officials, who were left embarrassed by Sakib with a controversial interview about his fitness.
During the interview last week Sakib claimed himself 20-30 per cent fit, a statement that officials quickly dismissed.
Though BCB officials are confident Sakib will make it to the tournament, the selectors thought of Mominul, who fit in all shoes.
A decent left-arm spinner Mominul could fill in the role of Sakib, should the all-rounder step aside, a possibility that was not ruled out yet.
BCB’s chief physician Debashish Chowdhury left the decision on Sakib.
‘It did not occur to us he is unfit. He was cleared to play in the tournament by our doctors. Now it’s up to him how he feels now and whether he should play or not,’ he said.
With Sakib staying with his family in USA, it was not possible for the team management, selectors and BCB physicians to read the mind of the all-rounder.
Bangladesh will board into the UAE-bound plane without being aware of how their best player feels about his injury, which says it all.
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