You know him as Bangladesh’s finest export to the game.
You know him for being the team’s hero.
For die-hard fans, Shakib exemplifies Bangladesh.
In fact, during tense situations, Bangladesh becomes Shakib.
But you’ve had it all wrong all this while.
You’ve been sold a dummy.
Shakib is a trader hiding in the guise of a batsman. And he prefers to deal in boundaries.
Anything else for him is being sold a raw deal.
Doesn’t match his standards.
Have you seen his recent form?
At the same time as Bangladesh are playing Windies, you couldn’t be blamed for being all consumed by India’s exploits in England.
The little diversion of attention, it could be said, is thanks to Holder’s captaincy and Shakib salvaging a pride for his team.
Only Shakib could’ve made a hostile spell of West Indies bowlers- Holder, Cummins, young Paul- seems like it came from school grade cricketers.
In the Second Test, the equation was simple for Bangladesh.
Do or die.
Perform for you’re already perishing.
They’d been set 335. Not Mission Impossible.
On most days- for a South Africa or India- that would seem easily gettable. At the most, any three can score to win.
For Shakib, though, it seemed a normal day at the office.
He’s alone enough for the chase.
It’s too bloody normal.
In came running a hotheaded Shanon Gabriel in his fourth over. On recent form, Gabriel is the Barracuda amongst the fish in Windies camp.
In other words, he’s been the AB De Villiers of bowling for West Indies all summer.
But to Shakib- he’s just another bowler.
“Does it look like I care a darn about Gabriel’s pace? What is it 142? Doesn’t matter to me,” seems Shakib’s mind-space.
In his mind, probably some rock concert is on.
On his face, however, there’s the stillness of a lake.
Then, in Gabriel’s fourth over, with Bangladesh already 109-4, needing 226 further, Shakib goes Bang- Bang.
A full-pitched delivery is blazed past the covers.
Boom. A straight drive.
The third ball is a dot.
Oh, thank you punisher. That was sweet.
On the fourth ball, normality resumes and the tormenting returns.
A blasting drive somewhere between the long off and mid-off region gets fielders busy and those watching from the stands to chew nails.
No one moves. Pin drop silence.
Gabriel is being blunted.
How dare he came to bowl at me- seems Shakib’ enormous state of self-confidence?
Goliath has morphed into the shape of a minion.
King Shakib Al Hasan is only beginning to break free.
The last he ran a single in the Test- was probably manufactured by fans in their reads.
The West Indies, with Shakib on song, are porcelain.
The Bangladesh captain is Titanium.
35 off 52- when the going gets tough, Shakib gets going.
In a fourth-inning run- chase, those are Sehwag like starts. Who says Shakib, even in the face of the series loss wasn’t Maxwell meets Viru?
Previously, he’s sent Holder straight down the ground right before Tea. From the non- striker’s end, Mushfiqur watches in awe.
“Why can’t I do it,” wonders Bangladesh’s experienced bat.
But you just can’t Mushi.
You’re not Batman. You’re, at best, Robin.
Shakib is both- a star batsman seeming reckless and at the same time, charmingly defiant.
Rather, the imposition of will. The cold-blooded response to West Indies who’d smelled blood already.
Fight fire with fire.
That’s what Test cricket was about, wasn’t it?
What’s interesting is, roughly an hour before, he’s had the lion’s share in reducing West Indies’ second innings to a joke.
In taking a 6-for, he hardly expressed an emotion.
He seems inane, disinterested even to celebrate a wicket.
It’s West Indies leg before Shakib.
He didn’t reach out to teammates in celebration.
They reached him soon as he’d witnessed the umpires raising a finger.
He just didn’t seem to break into a sweat.
At Jamaica, he’s paranormal. Does he have sweat glands?
But, eventually, he’d get out for 54.
Bangladesh would make 168.
But Shakib would do justice to Chris Gayle’s home ground in striking 10 glorious boundaries.
Bangladesh are losing their heads, it can be seen.
But Shakib is doing his own tiny bit in reviving his team.