Vol. 5 Num 132 Tue. October 05, 2004  

Chief selector's backup cry

Chief selector Faruque Ahmed said that the non-existence of a second string national side and absence of proper domestic competitions left him with little options to bring about any changes in the national squad for the home series against New Zealand.

The former national captain also ruled out the possibility of comeback of the injured pace trio Mashrafee-bin-Mortuza, Talha Jubair and Mohammad Sharif and left-arm spinner Enamul Haq during the New Zealand series.

The Kiwis led by Stephan Fleming will arrive in Dhaka on October 11 for two Tests and three one-day internationals.

"At the moment my hands are tight because I'm not in a position to select a new player on performance. It would have been easier had there been a proper domestic calendar," Faruque told the reporters yesterday during the practice session of the 21 probables at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

He also cried for a busy Bangladesh A team's schedule to overcome the huge gap between the national and backup teams.

"At the moment we have to depend on the Under-19 squad because they are well tuned and in good touch with the game. But I think it is not always good for a national team that's why we need to have a real second string team to fill in the gap," he added.

Presently Bangladesh does not have any second string side.

Faruque and his selection coleagues including coach Dav Whatmore are now under pressure from home and abroad after two miserable one-day assignments of the Tigers in the Asia Cup and the just concluded ICC Champions Trophy in England.

But the chief selector hoped that the Tigers would make an impression in the home series.

"We are trying to find the right combination and to do that we are working with almost the same set of players for quite some time and I think they will perform better this time," said Faruque.

The only good news for the selectors is that captain Habibul Bashar has taken the bat in his hand for the first time yesterday and showed little discomfort during his ten-minute stay in the nets. Bashar was out of action since breaking his right thumb on August 17.

But Bangladesh's record on home soil has never been inspiring compared to their away series and Faruque is aware of that.

"Our record at home is not good but I am hopeful that the boys will bounce back this time as they have had played two consecutive away tournaments," said a witty chief selector.

Replying to a question, Faruque informed that they would announce the team for the first Test on the second day of the three-day match to be held in BKSP from October 14.

"We want to see the boys' performance in the match before announcing the team for the first Test."

The first Test will start at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on October 19.

He also showed his interest to allow the national cricketers to play in the Twenty20 Corporate Cricket League, which commences on October 15.

"It would be better if they even play at least one game before the Test because it is always good to have a knock out their in the middle instead of net practice," he said.

The chief selector said there is hardly any chance to see four injured bowlers in action during the series. "We want to be absolute sure that they have fully recovered because we don't want them to break down again."

WELCOME BACK: Habibul Bashar, who recently had an operation in his right thumb, plays his trademark pull-shot at the nets of Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. The Bangladesh captain batted for the first time yesterday after the surgery in Australia. PHOTO: STAR