Mahmudullah could still have a spot in the World Cup roster, according to Nazmul Hassan

Mahmudullah was absent from Bangladesh's most recent ODI series against Ireland in both games

Even though he acknowledged that head selector Minhajul Abedin will make the final decision, BCB president Nazmul Hassan has offered his opinion on Bangladesh’s World Cup roster. 

All of the team positions were discussed by Hassan, but he focused particularly on the much-discussed No. 7 post. Mehidy Hasan Miraz has been batting at No. 7 for Bangladesh recently, and they usually select six bowlers.

Over the years, Hassan has developed a reputation for being heavily involved in most cricket-related matters in Bangladesh. As a result, even for national selectors, his discussion of the World Cup squad serves as a crucial point of reference.

When Bangladesh plays in the September Asia Cup, which is scheduled to take place in India, they will likely choose their final World Cup roster. The World Cup is expected to take place there in October–November 2023. However, the team is unlikely to try out too many new players, not even during the ODI series against Afghanistan in July, according to ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal.

Hassan believes that Bangladesh’s top six players, Tamim, Litton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Towhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Shakib Al Hasan, have solidified their positions. 

This leaves four players, including Mahmudullah, an experienced middle-order batter who was absent from both of Bangladesh’s recent series against Ireland, vying for the remaining spot in the squad.

“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 allrounder in case we are playing five bowlers. Ultimately, I don’t know what Nannu [Abedin] will do, I am just saying from myself.”

“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.”

Additionally, Hassan thought there might be room on the team for a backup opener. For this position, Mohammad Naim and Anamul Haque Bijoy, who topped the Dhaka Premier League run charts this season, may be in the running.

“They might pick a back-up opener in case of an injury,” Hassan said. “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.”

Hassan was certain that the Asia Cup would occur as planned, but he claimed that he had not yet received any information about whether it would be a single-country event or a multi-venue competition. 

Uncertainty exists as to where the event will be held due to tense relations between India and Pakistan, the two countries slated to host it. Presently, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has suggested a hybrid approach in which Pakistan would host the remaining games while the UAE would host all of India’s matches. However, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are opposed to this plan.

“I haven’t heard anything from the ACC [Asian Cricket Council] regarding the Asia Cup. But it will take place,”

Hassan said.

“It is hard to say where it will be. I know that there are two options. Firstly, it can be a hybrid model, to be held in Pakistan and UAE. The second one is that it could be held in one country, most likely in Sri Lanka. They offered it to Bangladesh but we refused as there will be rain at the time.”