Ashraful to skipper in Duleep Trophy
Mohammad Ashraful will lead the BCB (Bangladesh Cricket Board) XI which was announced yesterday for the Duleep Trophy in India.
This will be the first time a team from Bangladesh is taking part in an Indian first-class competition featuring five zonal teams.
The 14-member BCB XI, featuring only two non-Test caps -- wicketkeeper Sagir Hossain Pavel and left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak -- will open their campaign against East Zone on February 25 at Nagpur. The visitors will take on Central Zone in their second and final group match at Jaipur from March 1.
The final -- a five-dayer unlike the four-day group matches -- between the two group champions will be held at Indore.
The selectors named Naimur Rahman for the tour but the former Bangladesh captain decided against joining the camp.
"I think I'm not mentally ready to play at this level at the moment. If I start now, I'll have to begin from zero," Naimur told The Daily Star Sport yesterday.
"Having been out of international cricket for three years, I'm not looking forward to a return to the national side. Besides, I've recently started my own business so that has made it difficult for me to concentrate on cricket," he said.
"The second reason not to join is injury."
The all-rounder, the only recognised off-spinner able to compete at the highest level, showed fine form in the recent domestic competitions and was all set to be included in the national squad during the Zimba-bwe series but a training ground injury put paid to the speculation.
"I talk to a local physio tomorrow to know the extent of my injury."
Naimur, who led Abahani in the Premier Cricket League this season, missed the last four games due to a knee injury.
"The doctors advised me to take complete three weeks' rest. I was also told not to do any running for two months. I still don't feel okay," said Naimur adding that the selectors did not consult with him before announcing the squad.
The squad includes nine players who were part of the victorious Test or one-day squad that beat Zimba-bwe last month. Only senior players, captain Habibul Bashar, his deputy Khaled Mashud, Khaled Mahmud and Javed Omar were not considered.
The Board selection will face a young Central Zone side led by Mohammad Kaif and a more experienced East Zone featuring Debang Gandhi, SS Das, Rohan Gavaskar and Mahendra Dhoni.
The cricketers have been requested to report to coach Dav Whatmore at the Bangabandhu National Stadium at 9 am on February 15. The team will leave Dhaka on February 19.
Mohammad Ashraful (captain), Al Shahriar, Naimur Rahman, Rajin Saleh, Nafees Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Alok Kapali, Manzarul Islam, Sagir Hossain Pavel, Abdur Razzak, Talha Jubair, Nazmul Hossain, Tareq Aziz and Anwar Munir.
Edited on, February 3, 2005, 6:16 PM GMT, by reverse_swing.