Tigers to arrive without top player

12 September 2017 - 07:42 By TELFORD VICE
Captain Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh walks back to the pavillion.
Captain Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh walks back to the pavillion.
Image: Daniel Berehulak

South Africa's task of beating Bangladesh in their Test series this month became significantly easier yesterday when Shakib Al Hasan was taken out of the equation.

Shakib, their top-ranked Test all-rounder, asked Bangladesh's board for a six-month break from international duty.

Instead, he was granted leave for the two-match series, which is scheduled to be played in Potchefstroom and Bloemfontein from September 28 to October 10.

But there seems to be a chance Shakib will be in action in South Africa before the three one-day internationals and two T20s.

"He can miss the first Test against South Africa, but he can play the second Test," selector Akram Khan told ESPNCricinfo.

"He will not be travelling with the team but he can tell us what he decides to do."

Shakib is Bangladesh's second-highest scorer and their top wicket-taker, and he proved his worth by scoring 84 in the first innings and taking a match haul of 10/153 in his team's 20-run win over Australia in Dhaka last month.

It is the first time a Bangladeshi has opted out of Test cricket.

Nasir Hossain and Shakib are the omissions in the squad for South Africa.

Off-spinning allrounder Mahmudullah was recalled after missing Bangladesh's last three Tests, and fast bowler Rubel Hossain and medium pacer Subashis Roy also cracked the nod.

South Africa's squad will be shaped in part by performances in the opening round of the franchise first-class competition, which starts on Tuesday next week

AB de Villiers will return to the Test fold in the series against India and Australia this summer having chosen not to play in his team's last 15 matches in the format.

New South Africa coach Ottis Gibson, who is scheduled to arrive in South Africa on Monday, has requested that as many national players as possible feature in those matches, and the squad won't be named before the end of the round.