Injuries to Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal forced the selectors to recall the senior batter
Mahmudullah has been added to Bangladesh’s Test squad three days after the line-ups for the three formats were announced for the tour of Zimbabwe starting next month. ESPNcricinfo has learned that injuries to Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal led to the selectors turning to Mahmudullah, the T20I captain, after more than a year’s absence from Test cricket.Iqbal withdrew from the Super League stage of Prime Bank Cricket Club’s campaign in the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) after suffering a knee injury, while Rahim has a fractured finger, which he sustained last week. Both are expected to recover before the one-off Test against Zimbabwe from July 7, but the team management wanted a senior batter in the side as a back-up.
Mahmudullah played the last of his 49 Tests in January 2020, against Pakistan in Rawalpindi, and was subsequently left out of the series against Zimbabwe last year and against West Indies and Sri Lanka this year. He was also among a handful of cricketers to be given a white-ball-only central contract in 2020.
Never a consistent performer in Test cricket – he averages 31.77; 2764 runs from 93 innings – his form didn’t show much sign of improvement in the lead-up to his axing. He was on song in early 2019, scoring 22, 146, 13 and 67 in the two-Test series in New Zealand, but then had a top score of 39* in four Test matches, where he totalled only 109 runs in eight innings.
Though out of the red-ball side, the 35-year-old has been a regular in the Bangladesh white-ball teams, and in the domestic circuit, has led Gazi Group Cricketers to the Super League of the DPL T20s. His own run-scoring form has, however, been patchy: 207 runs in 14 innings with a best of 62*, at an average of 23.00 and a strike rate of 111.89.
Bangladesh’s touring party is scheduled to leave Dhaka on June 28, and they will play a one-off Test, three ODIs and three T20Is, all behind closed doors in Harare.
The inclusion of Mahmudullah means the Bangladesh contingent has seven players who are available for selection in all three formats, the others being Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Liton Das, Nurul Hasan, Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam. Rahim has been granted leave from the T20I series.
Test squad: Mominul Haque (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Shadman Islam, Saif Hassan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Yasir Ali, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Nayeem Hasan, Abu Jayed, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadat Hossain, Shoriful Islam
ODI squad: Tamim Iqbal (capt), Mohammad Naim, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Mithun, Afif Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Shoriful Islam
T20I squad: Mahmudullah (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Naim, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Afif Hossain, Shamim Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan, Aminul Islam, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84