Selected sans credentials
Four uncapped players were included in the squad for the Pakistan series in the form of Bangladesh Under-19 World Cup-winning captain Akbar Ali, Test specialist Saif Hasan, a relatively ordinary performer in recent times in pacer Shohidul Islam and Yasir Ali, who has been around the set-up but is yet to play an international game.
There were two more inclusions in Najmul Hossain Shanto, another batsman who was considered mostly for the longer-version after a string of poor performances in white-ball formats, and leg-spinner Aminul Islam, who has not been considered of late despite a promising entry into international cricket.
Known more for his ability to grind it out in the middle, than his prowess as an explosive batsman, Saif was always considered a longer-version specialist until his inclusion for the upcoming T20I series against Pakistan.
Saif has scored 365 runs across 17 games at a strike rate of 113 and an average of 28.07 in the Dhaka Premier League T20 competition, where he also hit three fifties.
Not considered among the top choices even in the domestic T20 competitions, Saif was indeed a surprise inclusion and is expected to make his T20I debut against Pakistan.
The idea of including Saif is to have someone anchor the innings so Bangladesh do not lose too many wickets early on, which clearly reflects the team management's defensive mindset.
Interestingly, Akbar, who was preparing for his next National Cricket League game, was called up at the last moment. Since winning the Under-19 World Cup in 2019, Akbar has not been able to catch the eye with performances in the domestic circuit.
He did play some handy knock during the Bangabandhu T20 Cup last year at a strike rate of 150, scoring 171 runs in 10 games with a high score of 45. But Akbar's inclusion as a second choice wicketkeeper for the upcoming Pakistan series seems to be a makeshift solution that will certainly put the youngster under tremendous pressure.
Pacer Shohidul was among the top five wicket-takers in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup last year, scalping 15 wickets in eight games but the right arm seamer was not able to make an impact in the DPL T20 last season.
His seven-wicket haul in the ongoing National Cricket League for Dhaka Metropolis probably also encouraged selectors to include him ahead of pacer Rubel Hossain, who was part of the T20 World Cup squad.
Najmul has been rated as a future prospect since the start of his career and the left-hander was among the top six run-getters in the DPL after scoring 368 runs in 16 games at a strike rate of 126.29. But his lack of consistency has remained the biggest problem so far and he was dropped from the T20I side back in April this year following a string of poor performances.
There is always a cry for producing leg-spinners in the Tigers' set up but the team management has not been able to nurture any existing ones in the system and Aminul is another example of that. After making his T20I debut in 2019, Aminul played seven games until his last in 2020.
It will be interesting to see whether the team management places enough faith on these youngsters against a high-flying Pakistan team or if the Tigers think-tank once again look for alternatives if they are unable to perform this time around.