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BCB bets on big boys

Sports Reporter

April 28, 1998

The national selectors fell back on experience rather then injecting fresh blood when they announced a 14-member Bangladesh squad for the Pepsi Triangular Cup, scheduled to begin in India from May 14.

Opting to travel full circle, the five-man selection committee, headed by Lutfur Rahman Makhan, virtually retained the side that won the ICC Trophy in Malaysia a year ago.

Slow left-armer Enamul Haq Moni and left-arm seamer Anisur Rahman have been recalled for the first time since being left out immediately after the Malaysian spectacle. Also returning to the top flight is tall opener Athar Ali Khan who was dropped for the Dhaka Independence Cup in January.

With Akram Khan retaining his job as captain along with his deputy Aminul Islam, the only rookie in a rather experienced side is Morshed Ali Khan, the young left-arm seamer who had a fantastic series in the Pakistan Wills Cup earlier this year.

Opener Mehrab Hossain Opee, who had mixed fortunes in his maiden stint with the national team in New Zealand, was the other youngster in a side that would rely mostly on experience when Bangladesh renews its rivalry with Kenya in the tri-nation Indian tourney.

Surprisingly though, former national skipper Faruque Ahmed was once again ignored by the selectors despite being called to the selection trials for an umpteenth time.

The notable omissions are - opener Javed Omar, Al-Shahriar and Shahriar Hossain Bidyut.

`` We have made the best possible selection for the meet'', said Shafiqul Haq Hira, a member of the selection committee, while talking to this reporter at the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) office last evening.

`` Our main target is to beat Kenya. So, we are counting on experienced cricketers to translate our goal'', said the former national skipper adding that their experiment with young cricketers has virtually back-fired.

ICC Trophy champions Bangladesh along with Kenya and the fancied India will take part in the day-night tournament, to be played on double-leg basis at seven different venues across India.

`` We have experimented too early and it has hardly helped our cause'', commented Hira while explaining the reason behind relying on old guards.

``It is not that we have picked them by name, but we have taken those who have performed well in the recent past'', said the soft-spoken former national wicketkeeper.

``Although we are considering only one wicketkeeper in Khaled Masud for the tournament, I can assure you that Mehrab is a good stopper behind the stumps'', said Hira. Mehrab is likely to keep in case of any injury to the regular wicketkeeper Khaled Masud.

``But this is not the final selection ahead of our tour to England'', said Hira. Bangladesh will tour England as part of its preparation for the 1999 World Cup immediately after the India meet.

``Those trying hard to make it to the national side will again have their chance when we announce the 17-man England squad during the tournament'', said Hira, pointing out that there are as many as ten players in the reserve list who may be able to avail the England trip.

Although Hira appeared confident, Gordon Greenidge, the West Indian coach of the Bangladesh team, was philosophical regarding the selected fourteen. ``This is an impertinent question since the selection has already been made, said Gordon to the press. The important thing for us is that we are playing in the big league'', said Gordon.

He was however reluctant to make any forecast about Bangladesh's aspirations and expectations. ``You never know what awaits us in the tournament. Did any one think that Pakistan would score only 114 in the final against South Africa?''

Accepting that the clash with Kenya would be the significant point of our India tour, Gordon said, ``The Kenyans had earlier beaten us hollow in their backyard. But the tournament will provide us the opportunity to get back at them as well as proving that the ICC triumph was not a one-off affair''.

The national team, now limbering up at the flood-lit Dhaka Stadium, is likely to leave the capital on May 10 for the north-western state of Punjab, where they will appear against the mighty Indians in the inaugural match at Mohali.


Akram Khan (captain), Aminul Islam, Athar Ali Khan, Sanwar Hossain, Minhazul Abedin, Khaled Mahmud, Khaled Masud, Hasibul Hossain, Mohammad Rafique, Morshed Ali Khan, Anisur Rahman, Mehrab Hossain, Enamul Haq and Naimur Rahman.

Officials: Selim Abedin Chowdhury (tour-manager), Gazi Ashraf Hossain (team-manager), Gordon Greenidge (coach).

Reserve list: Faruque Ahmed, Zakir Hasan, Atiar Rahman, Ridwan Hasan, Saiful Islam, Javed Omar, Safiuddin Ahmed, Azam Iqbal, Al-Shahriar and Fahim Muntasir.

Source: The Daily Star, Bangladesh
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Date-stamped : 29 Apr1998 - 10:22