Sports, Cricket

England’s Rehan set for white-ball debut on Bangladesh tour

Published : 02 Feb 2023 09:28 PM

Rehan Ahmed is set to make his England white-ball debut in Bangladesh next month.

Rehan, the 18-year-old legspinner who took seven wickets on Test debut in Karachi in December - including a second-innings five-for - has been named in the ODI and T20I squads for the tour, England's first to Bangladesh since 2016.

Saqib Mahmood returns for the ODI series, nearly a year after his most recent international appearance. He missed the entirety of England's 2022 home summer with a lower-back stress fracture. Mark Wood also returns after an extended break at the start of the year.

Tom Abell, the inventive middle-order batter who captains Somerset, has also been named in both squads and could win his first England cap. Abell will captain England Lions in Sri Lanka this month and has benefited from the absence of several more established players due to a clash with the Pakistan Super League, including Alex Hales and Sam Billings. ESPNcricinfo understands that David Willey also opted out of the tour, in order to spend time with his family between the end of the SA20 and the start of his stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.

The tour starts in Dhaka on March 1, the day after England's second Test against New Zealand is due to end. As a result, there are no players involved in both the New Zealand tour and the ODI series - though ESPNcricinfo understands Will Jacks could be considered for the ODIs if he is left out of the second New Zealand Test.

Rehan's inclusion gives him the opportunity to confirm his status as England's long-term replacement for Adil Rashid, and to press his case for inclusion in squads for the ODI and T20 World Cups in 2023 and 2024. He has only played seven List A games but has played 50-over cricket for England Under-19s and England Lions, and already has extensive short-form experience with Leicestershire (in the Blast), Southern Brave (the Hundred) and Gulf Giants (ILT20).

The ODI leg of the tour is part of the ICC's Super League, the qualification process for the 2023 World Cup, though both teams have already confirmed their spots. More pertinently, it is England's final away series before the World Cup, and offers preparation in subcontinental conditions against a Bangladesh side who are unbeaten in their last seven home ODI series.