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“Shakib had given letter saying he won’t be available to play Tests for six months. Scenario has changed since he won’t be playing IPL,” says BCB official

Shakib Al Hasan will sit down with BCB president Nazmul Hassan “within the next couple of days” to discuss his Test plans, according to cricket operations chairman Jalal Yunus. Shakib had previously written to the BCB saying he would not be available for Test cricket for the coming six months, Yunus said, but things are less clear after he went unsold at the IPL auction two weeks ago.
“Shakib had given a letter saying that he won’t be available to play Tests for six months,” Yunus said. “The scenario has changed since he won’t be playing in the IPL. He said that he will sit with the board president after the ongoing ODI series [against Afghanistan] to discuss the matter.

“He won’t just talk about the South Africa series [the Test-leg of which starts on March 30]. Basically we will ask him for his plan for this year. There have been media reports that he doesn’t want to play Tests, but we know that he wants to play Tests.”

Yunus said that Shakib will be given the latitude to tell them about his preferences rather than being forced to play in any format. The BCB started this practice last year, when it asked centrally contracted players about their format-specific plans.

“It is not a matter of pick and choose. He might have some problems, so we will consider him if he tells us that he wants to play a certain number of matches in a format,” Yunus said. “Nobody is bound to play every match. The BCB is not an organisation where we consider players as mere employees. They are also stakeholders. They have the freedom to discuss how many matches they want to play.”

Shakib skipped the Test series against New Zealand last month, the third time he took leave from a series citing personal reasons. The first time he took such a leave of absence was during the tour of South Africa in 2017-18, and then he skipped the Sri Lanka Tests last year due to his IPL commitments.

Since the 2017-18 South Africa series, Shakib has played only 30% of Bangladesh’s Tests, the reasons for his absences including injury, his one-year suspension for not reporting a corrupt approach, and personal reasons.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84