Bangladesh in search of final piece in World Cup jigsaw
Bangladesh were a revelation in the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup Super League where they finished third in the standings with 155 points, the same as England in second but behind on net run-rate.
With momentum high as ever in the 50-over format, Bangladesh look well placed for a big run at the World Cup in conditions that will be similar to that back home.
The Tigers are set to play Afghanistan in an all-format tour at home, which will include three ODIs. The Asia Cup in September too will act as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup.
BCB president Nazmul Hassan spoke about the multiple possible compositions, including the possible inclusion of Mahmudullah, who was missing from the home and away ODI series against Ireland in March and May respectively.
"If we want to play with five bowlers, we will be playing an extra batter," Hassan said. "[Yasir Ali] Rabbi is currently in the squad. The likes of Afif [Hossain], Mahmudullah and Mosaddek [Hossain] aren't in the squad, but they can be picked at any point.
"We will need an all-rounder in case we are playing five bowlers. Ultimately I don't know what Nannu [Abedin] (BCB Chief Selector) will do, I am just saying from myself."
With the top six – consisting of captain Tamim Iqbal, Litton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Towhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan – picking themselves, there could be a scramble for a batting all-rounder spot depending on the composition.
"There's no guarantee for anyone who will be in the squad that he will play in the eleven. Afif and Mahmudullah can make it to the team for their batting. Yasir hasn't done much after returning from injury.
"Afif and Mosaddek are ahead in bowling, and so is Mahmudullah. Afif is the better fielder among them [followed by] Mosaddek and then [Mahmudullah] Riyad."
Nazmul Hassan also opened up on the possible bowling combinations for the World Cup, suggesting that Bangladesh might go pace-heavy with three or even four fast-bowling options.
"They are likely to pick three pacers so any three among Hasan Mahmud, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Ebadot Hossain and Mustafizur [Rahman] will play.
They are unlikely to play anything less than five bowlers in the World Cup. They may even take four pacers in the line-up. They will also need an extra spinner."