Vol. 4 Num 77 Tue. August 12, 2003  

Why them?

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) yesterday announced a preliminary list of 22 players for the coming series against Pakistan but it raised more questions than answers.

The whole squad that toured Australia, including the two players who joined during the one day international series, were in the list and there were call-ups for five cricketers former national captain Naimur Rahman, opener Shahriar Hossain, batsman Rajin Saleh, all-rounder Mushfiqur Rahman and pace bowler Alamgir Kabir. But rather surprisingly, three cricketers who were on stand-by during the Australia tour, were not considered in the selection trial.

The players to get the sudden sack are opener Moniruzzaman, off-spinner Fahim Muntasir and wicket-keeper Mohammad Salim.

They were reportedly informed by a BCB co-ordinator last afternoon that they were not part of the preliminary team picked by national coach Dav Whatmore.

It was an embarrassing and shocking revelation for last season's top run-getter in domestic cricket Moniruzzaman as he had to leave the hotel where the reserve players had stayed for the last couple of months.

The City club player had continued to train with Fahim and Shahriar Hossain under instruction from Whatmore after the team had left for Australia and was preparing for the camp for Pakistan that starts at the Bangabandhu National Stadium from today. Salim on the other hand, had toured Sri Lanka with the national under-23 squad last month.

With the new selection committee led by ex-national captain Faruque Ahmed due to meet to finalise the Bangladesh squad for the Pakistan trip where the Tigers will play three Tests and five one dayers, on August 13, it was not understandable why these three were not included in the 22-man list. If the coach or whoever was responsible for selection didn't consider them good enough, why were they made to train under the Board's auspices?

Whatmore had also gone on record as saying that the 21 cricketers who had been in the preliminary camp for the tour of Australia, would form the core from which teams will be picked for the next seven or eight months atleast, after the 15-man squad was announced in June. Has the popular coach had a sudden change of heart?

Besides, what was the point in picking five new players when there was only a few days to make a judgement on them? Also, with the cricket season over, there was no guarantee regarding the required fitness level of a couple of players among the newcomers.

It appears that that Whatmore's vibrant 'new Bangladesh' theme has hit its first controversy with the baffling selection of the preliminary squad, which many feel was not at all necessary with so little time for training as the Tigers leave for Pakistan on the evening of August 16.