Bangladeshi opener Saif Hassan has been ruled out of the second Test against Pakistan owing to typhoid fever, according to the Bangladesh Cricket Board. “Saif performed laboratory testing based on his symptoms, and findings revealed that he has typhoid bacteria in his body. The batsman is being treated and will be monitored by the BCB medical team as he recovers,” BCB said in a statement on Wednesday.

The right-handed batter failed to score in the first Test at Chattogram, prompting the team management to call up uncapped Naim Sheikh for the second and final Test, which begins on December 4 in Dhaka. However, the choice of opening batsman Naim Sheikh, a mainstay in Bangladesh’s limited-over cricket, aroused some eyebrows, given that he hasn’t played a red-ball match since February 2020. Naim, who has only played six first-class games, scored two runs in his most recent long-format match and has been overlooked in red-ball cricket since his T20 debut.

However, Bangladesh fielding coach Mizanur Rahman intimated on Wednesday that Naim’s chances of succeeding Saif at the helm are minimal, as he believes that another rookie, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, who scored massively in the recent first-class season, is the best option to join Shadman Islam.

“I’m not sure who will open, but Shadman Islam is the first choice, and he batted well in the national league, so he might get a chance,” Mizanur said on Wednesday. “Shanto (Nazmul Hossain) batted well in Sri Lanka and would most likely bat at three, and maybe they will manage the new ball better in Dhaka than they did on the opening day,” he remarked, referring to the first Test, in which the hosts lost their top-order on both occasions before 20 overs.

Shakib, who was named in the team for the first Test but was subsequently left out after failing to recover from a hamstring injury in time, is doing everything he can to make himself eligible. From November 25, the all-rounder began his preparation at his own MASCO – Shakib Cricket Academy with his boyhood guru, and from November 28, he began his individual practice at Sher-e-Bangladesh Stadium. Shakib hasn’t played competitive cricket since Bangladesh’s fourth Super 12 encounter in the ICC T20 World Cup due to a hamstring injury, and the team management is worried about his match fitness.