The Zunaed Siddiqui-led Bangladesh A team will leave Dhaka tomorrow for a 45-day tour to Ireland and England.
The second-string Bangladesh side will open their short tour of Ireland with a three-day match in Dublin on June 23 and then play a Twenty20 game in the same city on June 27, two one-day games against the hosts in Belfast on June 29 and July 1 before leaving for England.
The national selectors brought a few changes to the 14-member team for the short trip with batsmen Rajin Saleh and Farhad Hossain and wicketkeeper Sahagir Hossain replacing batsmen Alok Kapali, Jahurul Islam and Shamsur Rahman.
Kapali, who was replaced by wicketkeeper Dhiman Ghosh for the England trip, was ignored for the A team trip after he was recalled in the senior side for the just-concluded Kitply Cup and Asia Cup due to Aftab Ahmed's injury.
The Ireland-bound team was made with fewer national team players but as many as twelve Tigers were picked in the 15-member team for the tour to England in July-August.
Chief selector Rafiqul Alam believed that the players will take the opportunities with both hands to make the selection difficult before selecting the national side for the tour of Australia in August.
"I think it is a big platform for all young and out-of-favour players to enhance their performance to claim a place in the national side. I hope the players will understand the importance of the long trip," said Rafiqul yesterday.
"Bangladesh national team would be touring Australia after the Asia Cup, so England would be the best place to prepare before such a tough series. We will look forward to see how a batsman or bowler improve his individual performance in the tour," he added.
After playing the Asia Cup in Pakistan, Tigers Tamim Iqbal, Nazimuddin, Rokibul Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Alok Kapali, Mosharraf Hossain and Dollar Mahmud will join the team in England. On the other hand, it would be a great opportunity for all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who will join the team from Dhaka after completion of HSC examination, to get back his rhythm after a long break from cricket.
The only players in the England-bound A team who have not appeared for Bangladesh national side are promising batsman Nayeem Islam and Rubel Hossain, who bowls with a slinging action.
Many however were surprised by the selection of left-handed opener Zunaed as captain for the tour but Rafiq believed that the tall opener has the quality to lead the team.
"Zunaed already got the international exposure and played domestic cricket for quite a long time. His educational background is also encouraging for us," explained Rafiq.
Tour to Ireland: Zunaed Siddiqui, Imrul Kayes, Sahagir Hossain, Rajin Saleh, Farhad Hossain, Nadif Chowdhury, Nayeem Islam, Dhiman Ghosh, Rubel Hossain, Syed Rasel, Suharwardi Shuvo, Mahbubul Alam, Arafat Sunny and Nazmul Hossain.
Tour to England: Zunaed Siddiqui, Tamim Iqbal, Nazimuddin, Rokibul Hasan, Nayeem Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim, Dhiman Ghosh, Rajin Saleh, Mosharraf Hossain, Sajidul Islam, Dollar Mahmud, Nazmul Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Syed Rasel, Shakib Al Hasan.