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DHAKA – Bangladesh have named uncapped off-spinner Sohag Gazi in their 14-member squad for the first Test against West Indies beginning in Dhaka on Tuesday.

Rookie paceman Abul Hasan, who has played four Twenty20 internationals, will also be hoping to make his Test debut after being included in the squad today.

Gazi’s selection was a reward for his impressive performance in the ongoing National Cricket League where the 21-year-old claimed 11 wickets in two matches, including a hat-trick, and hit a century.

Pace bowler Rubel Hossain returned to the side, led by wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, after a long injury lay-off.

There was no such joy for former captain Mohammad Ashraful, who was replaced by Naeem Islam In the side.Squad:Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Junaid Siddique, Shahriar Nafees, Naeem Islam, Nazimuddin, Nasir Hossain, Elias Sunny, Shahadat Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Abul Hasan, Sohag Gazi.

Azharuddin gets new lease on life

BANGALORE – Former India skipper Mohammad Azharuddin’s life ban was today lifted by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. The BCCI had banned Azhar in 2000 for his involvement in the match-fixing scandal, after he was named by then South African skipper Hansie Cronje.

Azharuddin had challenged the life-ban that was handed out to him, but the decision was upheld by the City Civil Court. Subsequently, the 49 year old who is currently a member of parliament in Uttar Pradesh, moved the AP High Court, who lifted the decision.BCCI vice-president, Rajiv Shukla said that “the legal team of the BCCI would analyse the judgement and react after that”.Azhar, in a press conference, said that he was very happy with the judgement.”I am very happy with today’s judgement and I won’t want to blame anybody. You have to take everything in your stride and move forward. It is all in the fate,” he said.Azharuddin’s career was ended at 99 Tests at an average of 45. He also played 334 ODIs.

Hodgson clears air on winger

LONDON – Roy Hodgson has denied calling Jamaican-born winger Raheem Sterling into his England squad simply to declare him for the Three Lions.

It has been reported that the Caribbean nation were trying to persuade the Liverpool winger to play for the country of his birth, despite representing England from Under-16 to Under-21 level.

However, The 17-year-old will join up with Hodgson’s squad for next week’s friendly with Sweden. The 65-year-old said that Sterling is fully deserving of his chance following a promising start to his career in a Red shirt.

“He’s in the squad on merit and because I think he’s done extremely well for Liverpool,” said Hodgson.

“He burst onto the scene at the start of the season and has been ever-present in the Liverpool team in recent games, playing a very exciting part.

“It has nothing to do with him being courted by anybody else. My views on that subject are clear, as far as I’m concerned a player should have the right to choose who he wants to play for.”

Former Everton striker jailed

LONDON – Former Everton striker Michael Branch has been jailed for seven years after pleading guilty to selling drugs. The 34-year-old admitted to handing over 3kg of amphetamine to another man in a car park in Liverpool and to holding 1kg of cocaine, which was seized at his home in Otterspool in July.A spokesman for the Serious Organised Crime Agency said: “This was significant criminality committed by someone who would once have been viewed as a role model.”The message here is that entering the illegal drugs trade is a route to prison, not to financial gain and a celebrity lifestyle.”Branch came through the youth system at Everton and also experienced loan stints at Manchester City.

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