Sabbir Rahman's ban was reduced to facilitate his inclusion for the NZ room. Getty

In an other intriguing twist to the saga, Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan on Monday (January 28) refused to take responsibility for reducing the ban of batsman Sabbir Rahman, a decision that facilitated the latter's inclusion in the national squad for New Zealand series.

The BCB had suspended Sabbir for six months from international cricket in September for abusing a fan on social media, making him unavailable for selection until February 28, but the national selection panel included the controversial cricketer for three-match one-day international series against New Zealand, starting on February 13. Selectors claimed that they recalled Sabbir at the insistence of skipper Mashrafe Mortaza, but the paceman contradicted the statements categorically stating that he did not impose any decision.

While announcing the team, chief selector Minhajul Abedin told reporters that they included Sabbir in the squad as the BCB had reduced his ban by a month. "We have been told he is available after January 31," he had said in the press conference.

Minutes later, speaking to reporters over phone, BCB disciplinary committee chairman Sheikh Sohel denied having any knowledge of reducing the ban on Sabbir. Sohel said BCB president Nazmul Hasan might have reduced Sabbir's ban at his own discretion.

However, speaking to reporters in Chittagong, Nazmul insisted it was quite a surprise for him seeing Sabbir's name in the 15-member squad. "The [team] list came to after everyone had signed on it. I asked about his punishment, when it was going to end. I was told his punishment was over," Nazmul told reporters.

"Maybe it was said mistakenly or maybe the punishment got lessened because the duration was reduced. I did not ask it," he added.

Nazmul warned that Sabbir had run of pardons and now had a last chance to shape a good career out of the opportunity. He also insisted had Sabbir come after serving the full ban it would have been more beneficial for the all-rounder. "If he does it again he will not be able to play anymore," said Nazmul.

'"I think if he came after taking some more time than it would have been better for him. It is very risky for him because even a small mistake might ruin his career," he said.

Sabbir has had his fair share of issues off the field. He had been accused of assaulting a fan during a National Cricket League match in Rajshahi, directing abuses at fans on social media and hitting Mehidy Hasan during the Afghanistan series. Before this ban was imposed on Sabbir, he was already serving a six-month ban from domestic cricket and had also been fined TK 20 lakhs by the board.