Bangladesh is poised to commence their Asia Cup journey with a faceoff against Sri Lanka in Kandy on Thursday.
Leading up to the Asia Cup, Bangladesh was dealt a dual blow with the loss of key bowler Ebadot Hossain and top-order batter Litton Das, both ruled out due to injuries.
However, the newly inducted captain of Bangladesh’s ODI team remains unperturbed by the absentees. The captain expressed full confidence in securing a berth in the Super Fours with the current lineup.
Replacing Ebadot is Tanzim Hasan Sakib, an uncapped player. In an unexpected move, the Bangladeshi selectors included Anamul Haque Bijoy to fill the void left by Litton.
While Sakib's inclusion was rational, Anamul's selection raised eyebrows. He wasn't part of the contingent undergoing training under the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) program to provide backup players when needed.
Describing Litton's absence as a significant loss, Bangladesh captain Shakib commented, "He consistently performed well for us over the past few years. However, this presents a golden opportunity for someone else, who I'm confident will seize it."
As for Anamul's inclusion, Shakib cited the logic of a right-hand-left-hand combination at the top of the order. Zakir, who was training with the backup players, appeared as the natural choice, given Litton's illness. Yet, selectors opted for Anamul, citing the need for a wicketkeeper.
Shakib emphasized excelling in all facets of the game rather than fixating on a single position.
Since the notable Nidahas Trophy in 2018, Bangladesh's rivalry with Sri Lanka has intensified. Shakib, however, described the atmosphere in the dressing room as more composed. "While not a rivalry, we deliver impressive cricket when these two nations compete. It's a positive display for both the crowd and broadcasters."
Bangladesh has emerged as a formidable 50-over side. Despite India and Pakistan frequently being named as top contenders for the Asia Cup, the captain remains unfazed by such considerations.
Bangladesh boasts a record of nine victories in 51 ODIs against Sri Lanka. In recent years, they've become potent challengers. Still, Shakib recognizes the difficulty of playing against Sri Lanka on their home turf.
The match is scheduled to commence at 3:30 pm (Dhaka time). It will be broadcast live on T-Sports, as well as on the OTT platform Toffee and the smartphone app MyGP.
Bangladesh Asia Cup squad: Shakib Al Hasan (Captain), Najmul Hossain Shanto, Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Afif Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan, Mohammad Naim, Shamim Hossain, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Anamul Haque Bijoy