"The team management were looking for a bowler who could bowl straight stump to stump, which is why we picked [Nazmul Islam] Apu," said chief selector Minhajul Abedin. "We didn't consider [Abdur Razzak] Raj on current form and fitness. The management also wanted a batsman who could be a big-hitter at No 7 or 8 and who could also tackle the low bounce, which is why we decided on Ariful."
While Shakib Al Hasan (finger) and Tamim Iqbal (wrist) are out injured, the side will be led by Mahmudullah. Along with them, the likes of Rubel Hossain, Nurul Hasan and Kamrul Islam have also been left out of the squad.
Kamrul and Rubel’s poor showing in the Test series against the West Indies has paved the way for Mustafizur Rahman and Khaled in the squad for the first Test. Khaled, a right arm fast bowler, has taken close to 50 wickets in the 20 first-class matches, which includes a 10-wicket haul when Sylhet beat Dhaka Metropolis. Nurul, meanwhile, has been left out of despite being one of just two Bangladesh batsmen on tour to make a half-century in the Test series, which means Mushfiqur Rahim will keep wickets.
Ariful, who has played T20I cricket for Bangladesh, earned his place in the squad on the back of a brilliant domestic season. The right-hand bat, also scored a double century in a first-class match for Rangpur. Meanwhile, Mithun made it to the squad for the Zimbabwe series on the basis of his form in white ball cricket.
Bangladesh though have decided to not pick the veteran Tushar Imran despite his current domestic form as the selection committee is understood to be looking at the future. Imran, who debuted in 2002, averages 44 across 163 first-class matches.
"We have established batsmen like Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah at No 4 and 5 where Tushar usually bats in domestic cricket. We are also looking at some players who can be our future, at least in the next two or three years."
Bangladesh squad: Mahmudullah (capt), Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Mominul Haque, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Ariful Haque, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Mithun, Khaled Ahmed, Nazmul Islam
Ariful HaquebangladeshBangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2018Khaled AhmedmahmudullahMohammad MithunNazmul IslamZimbabwe
First Published: October 25, 2018, 6:30 PM IST