Sabbir dropped from Bangladesh’s Asia Cup squad

Monday, 3 September 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

ESPNCricinfo: Sabbir Rahman, who faces a hearing with the BCB’s disciplinary committee this weekend, has been left out of Bangladesh’s 16-man squad for the Asia Cup that will be played in September in the UAE.

Sabbir’s place was always up for debate given his prolonged run of poor form this year, but the 26-year-old’s axing is linked to his off-field issues. His latest brush with the authorities is due to the alleged abuse and threats he subjected two fans to on social media from what is believed to be his official account. His alleged comments include foul language and the threat of physical harm. He faces disciplinary hearing for this incident.

This comes after an altercation between Sabbir and a fan late last year, a minor who Sabbir assaulted during a Rajshahi Division first-class game. He lost his central contract for that incident and was fined $ 25,000, approximately, with the disciplinary committee’s Vice Chairman saying that Sabbir could be “permanently suspended” if there were further breaches.

Top-order batsman Mohammad Mithun was included in the 16-man squad named on Thursday, along with Ariful Haque, who has so far only played T20Is. Mithun, whose last ODI was the tri-nation series final in January this year, was included after strong recent showings – 87 not out and 73 against an Ireland A side earlier this month. He is likely to take up a lower-order role in the Asia Cup in place of Sabbir.

According to Chief Selector Minhajul Abedin, Mithun was the choice of Captain Mashrafe Mortaza and Coach Steve Rhodes for that role. “They wanted Mithun for the number six or seven batting position in place of Sabbir,” he said. “Ariful, too, is picked for a similar role.”

Meanwhile, Anamul Haque and Abu Jayed have also been omitted from the squad.

The rest of Bangladesh’s squad for the Asia Cup was unchanged from the West Indies ODI series – their previous one-day assignment, which Mashrafe Mortaza’s side won 2-1. Shakib Al Hasan stays in the squad, meaning he will play with a finger that is not quite right. He injured the little finger on his left hand in January, which forced him out of the home Tests and T20Is against Sri Lanka and the Pakistan Super League. He is supposed to undergo a finger surgery. But now, after being included in the squad, it appears he will miss the home series against Zimbabwe in October to have the surgery.

Bangladesh, whose best performance in the Asia Cup was runners-up in 2012, begin their campaign with a game against Sri Lanka in Dubai on 15 September.