DHAKA: Bangladesh on Saturday called up uncapped fast bowler Hasan Mahmud for their three-match Twenty20 International series in Pakistan which has been engulfed by fears over player safety.

Experienced opener Tamim Iqbal returns after skipping the home series against Afghanistan and Zimbabwe and the tour of India, while Mosaddek Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Taijul Islam and Abu Hider have been dropped from the squad.

“Hasan is a quick bowler and has a good future. So we thought maybe this is the right time to give him a break,” said Bangladesh Cricket Board’s chief selector Minhajul Abedin.

Wicket-keeper/batsman Mushfiqur Rahim was left out after saying he would not go to Pakistan for security reasons.

A senior BCB official said batting coach Neil McKenzie, spin bowling coach Daniel Vettori and fielding coach Rayan Cook would also not accompany the team.

Mushfiqur, 32, remained adamant that he would not be with the squad when they leave on Wednesday.

“I decided it a long time ago and informed the board. I have submitted a letter too. My family is concerned, and don’t want me to go,” Mushfiqur told reporters late on Friday.

He has also kept his name off the draft for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 tournament.

“There’s no bigger sin for me than not playing for Bangladesh. But I had refused an offer to play in the PSL after finding out that the tournament will be entirely held in Pakistan,” he said. “I agree that things have improved in Pakistan, but I will gain confidence when I see teams going there for the next two years. I have been to Pakistan before, it is a great place to play cricket.”

Mushfiqur’s absence will be a blow for Bangladesh who are already without suspended all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and lost their two recent Tests in India inside three days.

“I wish good luck to our team,” he said.

Bangladesh play their T20s in Lahore from Jan 24 to 27 before returning home. They will go back to Pakistan for the first Test starting in Rawalpindi from Feb 7 and visit again to play a One-day International in Karachi on April 3 and the second Test from April 5.

Squad: Mahmudullah (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Naim, Nazmul Hossain, Liton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Afif Hossain, Mahadi Hasan, Aminul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Hasan Mahmud.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2020