Bangladesh on Monday announced the squad for two-match Test series against Pakistan to be held in Chattogram from November 26.
Batters Mahmudul Hasan Joy and fast bowler Rejaur Rahman Raja have secured their respective spots in the team, while there are still some questions about Shakib-Al Hasan's fitness assessment as he works his way back from a hamstring injury he suffered during the T20 World Cup last month.
Chief selector Minhajul Abedin said that both Joy and Raja were rewarded for their form in the National Cricket League. Joy made back-to-back centuries for Chattogram Division, scoring 345 runs overall at an average of 57.69. Raja, who plays for Sylhet Division, took 12 wickets at an average of 16.91, with best match figures of 8 for 82.
"It is still early days for him but Mahmudul has shown good temperament for the longer version. He is also an in-form batsman. With injury concerns to Taskin (Ahmed) and Shoriful (Islam), we needed to keep our pace-bowling options open and Raja got the nod. We have been monitoring his performances in first-class competitions. He is strong and energetic and has a knack for taking wickets," said Minhajul Abedin as reported by ESPNcricinfo.
"There is a fair bit of experience if you consider that Mominul (Haque), Mushfiqur (Rahim), Shakib, Taijul (Islam) and Miraz (Mehidy Hasan) are all part of the squad. We will obviously have to wait to see if Shakib makes it for the first Test but these players have been the most consistent performers for us in Tests and their presence can make a difference," he added.
Tamim Iqbal will not be a part of the squad as he was ruled out of the Test series with a second fracture on his left thumb, sustained during an Everest Premier League match in October. T20 skipper Mahmudullah was also not included in the squad, having announced his Test retirement during Bangladesh's last Test in Harare in July.
Abedin further said that Bangladesh will be a 'competitive' team if they play with discipline and patience.
"Pakistan are a formidable team but we are confident that Bangladesh will be competitive if we are disciplined and patient," said Minhajul Abedin.
Bangladesh squad for the first Test: Mominul Haque (capt), Shadman Islam, Saif Hassan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Ebadat Hossain, Abu Jayed, Yasir Ali, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Rejaur Rahman Raja, Shakib Al Hasan (subject to fitness)