Mominul believes it was a right call to consider Naim ahead of the NZ tour where the Tigers will play two Tests next month

Bangladesh Test captain Mominul Haque defended the decision to include opener Mohammad Naim in the squad, which raised many eyebrows as the left-hander has played only a few List A matches in his career and averages 16.43 in the longer format.

Mominul informed that he has a role in squad and team selection as a captain and he believes it was a right call to consider Naim ahead of the New Zealand tour where the Tigers will play two Test matches in the first two weeks of next month.

“To be honest, we don’t have any back-up opener. To pick a fresh player in a hurry, particularly against a strong opponent, is always difficult. Because international cricket is tough. And as for Naim, he has been playing international cricket in recent months. Yes he is playing shorter format, but when you have no back-up opener then you have to pick the kind of player who is playing international cricket and doing training constantly in the national team for months,” said Mominul during the pre-match press conference Friday.

Bangladesh have 20 players in the squad at the moment and quite a few young players have been called up like Yasir Ali Rabbi, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Rejaur Rahman Raja, Shahidul Islam and Naim.

Mominul said it was no experiment from their part and that the team management had to pick young players due to the unavailability of some senior cricketers.

“There are no junior players in the squad. And there is no experiment ongoing. Senior players like Tamim Iqbal are not playing, so we need an opener in his place. Joy has come to the squad but unfortunately Saif (Hasan) got ruled out due to illness. And considering the New Zealand series, Naim has come to the squad. Shakib (al Hasan) bhai was unavailable for the first Test, so Rabbi played. Another experienced player Mahmudullah has retired recently. So we had to pick new players in these positions,” said Mominul.

The wicket for the second Test against Pakistan is a point of discussion.

Mirpur wickets in recent months have drawn criticism due to favoring the bowlers heavily.

But the Bangladesh captain believes, as professional players they need to be ready for any kind of challenge be it tough conditions or the pitch.

“As a professional cricketer, you have to be ready to play in any kind of wicket and I think there should be no excuse. I believe the first hour of the Test match is very crucial. Whether we bat or bowl we have to start very well. Everybody knows, our main strength is batting. If we can utilize our batting strength and bat well for six sessions, then the result will be on our side,” said the diminutive left-handed batsman.

Bangladesh received major boost as ace all-rounder Shakib became fit and available for the second match.

And the skipper is delighted to have him back as Shakib is one of the key senior players for the Tigers in both batting and bowling.

“It’s always pleasing to have Shakib bhai back in the squad. As a captain I feel very relaxed when he is in the side. His batting and bowling are so important for the team. It’s definitely a positive side for us,” Mominul concluded.

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