In a significant development for Bangladesh cricket, a new captain has been appointed for the upcoming two-match Test series against New Zealand at home.
Injury woes for Shakib Al Hasan
The decision follows an injury to seasoned all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who sustained damage to his left index finger while batting against Sri Lanka in the ODI World Cup 2023. Unfortunately, the injury sidelined Shakib, ruling him out of the crucial last league game against Australia in Pune. The 36-year-old is currently in the rehabilitation phase, with an estimated recovery time of three to four weeks.
Litton Das’s personal commitments and appointment of new captain for Bangladesh
Adding to the leadership challenges, previous reports indicated that Litton Das, the vice-captain of the Test team, would miss the New Zealand series due to family commitments. Consequently, the responsibility of captaining Bangladesh in the Test series now falls on the shoulders of Najmul Hossain Shanto.
“Litton has been granted leave for one month, he is not available for the two Tests. He wants to spend time with his new-born baby. We had requested him to play at least the second Test match but he insisted on [being away for] the whole series. That’s why we granted him leave. As a result, Najmul Hossain Shanto will captain the side in these two Tests,” Jalal Yunus, chairman of the BCB’s cricket operations committee, was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
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Challenges and opportunities for Najmal Hossain Shanto
Despite Shanto’s experience in 23 Test matches, boasting an average of 29.83 and four centuries, this marks his first leadership role in the format. He has, however, captained Bangladesh in three ODIs, including two crucial matchups at the quadrennial event when Shakib was absent due to injury.
Bangladesh’s Test series schedule against New Zealand
As Bangladesh prepares for the Test series, Shanto’s leadership skills will be put to the test, steering the team through the challenges posed by the absence of key players. The first Test is scheduled to be held in Dhaka starting from November 28, with the second Test taking place in Dunedin from December 6.
Neil Wagner replaces Matt Henry in the New Zealand squad
Ahead of the Test series against Bangladesh, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) have also made a significant change in their squad. In response to the unfortunate injury to pacer Matt Henry, NZC has named the seasoned left-arm bowler Neil Wagner as his replacement. Henry sustained a right hamstring injury during the ongoing CWC 2023, and subsequent scans have indicated that he will not recover in time for the Bangladesh Test series.
National Selector Sam Wells expressed satisfaction with the addition of Wagner to the Black Caps squad, highlighting the veteran’s wealth of experience.
“It’ll be great to have Neil’s skill and experience on the tour of Bangladesh. His record speaks for itself, and we all know what a great competitor he is. He’s played plenty of cricket in the sub-continent, and I know he’s really excited by the challenge ahead,” Wells was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz.
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