Shakib to lead BD in Pakistan series opener

DHAKA: All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will lead Bangladesh in the opening One-day International (ODI) of their three-match series against Pakistan due to a ban on captain Mashrafe Mortaza, a report in Daily Star said on Sunday.

Shakib, who earlier said the series is “Bangladesh’s best chance to beat Pakistan”, is currently training with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for the start of their Indian Premier League (IPL) title defence from April 8.

Pakistan’s tour of Bangladesh will begin with the first of three ODIs on April 17 followed by a Twenty20 International on April 24 and a two-Test series beginning on April 28.

Paceman Mortaza was banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for one match due to slow over rate in their World Cup quarter-final against India last month and will lead the hosts in the next two ODIs and the lone T20.

Wicket-keeper/batsman Mushfiqur Rahim will captain Bangladesh in the Test series.

Shakib will play two games for KKR before joining the Bangladesh team and said that doing well in the IPL will help him gather confidence for the Pakistan series.

“Obviously, I have the Pakistan tour on my mind,” he told reporter in Kolkata on Sunday. “Because I will play only two matches. If I do play in the first two matches and play well, the confidence will come in handy.”

He hoped his absence wouldn’t be a blow for the KKR side as they aim for a successful defence of their crown and win a third title overall.

“I don’t think my absence will be a problem,” he said. “Our [KKR’s] bench strength is very strong. We have got depth in our side.

“I will also possibly play the last two league matches. Of course, my target would be to contribute like last season.”

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