Injured Mortaza out of World Cup

Dhaka, Jan 19 (AFP) Bangladesh were today forced to droppace spearhead Mashrafe Mortaza for the World Cup due tolingering doubts over his fitness for next month''s tournament.

The 27-year-old former captain, who sustained an injuryin his right knee during a domestic match in December, wasexcluded from the 15-man squad for the showpiece event.

"There is little chance that Mortaza will be fit beforethe World Cup," chief selector Rafiqul Alam told AFP, addingthat chief coach Jamie Siddons supported this assessment.

"Mortaza, however, has the chance to be included in theteam later if he fully recovers and an opportunity arises."

Bangladesh are due to co-host the World Cup with Indiaand Sri Lanka from February 19 to April 2.

Top order batsman Shahriar Nafees was included in theside after being ignored for the home series against Zimbabwe.

"Nafees has been in fantastic form in the ongoingdomestic league, so he has been selected as a back-up opener,"Alam said.

The squad, led by Shakib Al Hasan, also includes formercaptain Mohammad Ashraful, under whom Bangladesh won thecricket gold medal at the Asian Games in November.

Bangladesh are drawn with India, South Africa, England,West Indies, Ireland and Netherlands in the round-robin groupB from which four teams will qualify for the quarter-finals.

Bangladesh take on India in the tournament opener inDhaka on February 19.

Bangladesh squad: Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Tamim Iqbal,Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Shahriar Nafees, Raqibul Hasan,Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim, Naeem Islam, MohammadMahmudullah, Abdur Razzak, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam,Nazmul Hossain, Suhrawadi Shuvo. (AFP) CM

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