Bangladesh have produced many players over the years, but Shakib Al Hasan is undoubtedly one of the best. Having referred as underrated many times, Shakib Al Hasan has been going through one of the best time of his cricketing career in the ongoing ICC World Cup.
Having made his debut way back in 2006 to continuing in the present day 2019 ICC World Cup, Shakib has played over 300 International matches across formats and has featured in most ODIs against Zimbabwe: 45.
He successfully led his side in their first overseas Test series win against West Indies in 2009. If there was a truly unforgettable moment in his silvery career, then this was it.
With this feat, he became Bangladesh’s youngest captain and the fifth youngest captain overall in the history of Test Cricket.
After getting back-to-back successes as a captain, he was even named the “Test Player of the Year” by The Wisden. A hats-off moment, right?
However, it must be said, the journey hasn’t been easy for him. After having faced consecutive losses, he left captaincy in 2010. In 2014, he was banned for six months from all forms of cricket owing to severe attitude problems, a penalty that would later be reduced to three a half months.
This was the lowest ebb in his career wherein many doubted if he’d ever recover. But guess what, the eternal trier of the Bangladesh team did.
After that, he gradually came back onto his own and began taking more responsibilities as a dependable bowler of the team. From thereon, he has played numerous T20 leagues across the globe and established himself as an exceptional all-rounder.
A thing that stands out for Shakib has been his priorities being in the right place; focusing on national duties first and then resorting to playing T20 leagues, in which he’d excel just as well.
In 2014, during the second Test match against Zimbabwe, Shakib Al Hasan became only the third player in the history of Test Cricket to score a hundred and take 10 wickets in the same match after Ian Botham (1980) and Imran Khan (1983).
2019 has so far gone on exceptionally pretty well. Here’s evidence.
In 10 games thus far, he has already scored 682 runs with the strike rate of 98.2, including two centuries and six half-centuries.
He took his 250th ODI wicket as well as become the fastest cricketer to take 250 wickets and score 5,000 runs in ODI in their game against South Africa in the ongoing ICC World Cup. In this match, he scored a fifty which helped him become the first cricketer to score a half-century in the first match of Bangladesh in each World Cup since 2007.
Not only this, their clash against New Zealand was Shakib’s 200th ODI and he became the second batsman for Bangladesh to score 6,000 runs in ODIs. He reached this feat during the game against West Indies.
Alongside this, he became the first Bangladesh player to score 1,000 runs and take a five-wicket haul in ICC Cricket World Cup. He also became the second player after Yuvraj Singh, to score 50 runs and take a five-wicket haul in the same World Cup match.
Moreover, he is the third all-rounder and fastest in the history of International Cricket to reach 10,000 runs and take 500 wickets after Jacques Kallis and Shahid Afridi.
These records certainly speak for him.
If Bangladesh have come a long way in this World Cup so far, that is because of the all-round contribution from this player who not only has been scoring runs but also taking wickets. His ability to score quickly and taking wickets makes him a key player for his side and a formidable foe for their opponent teams.
But there are exceptions too. It’s not always a good day at the office for him as with many accomplished marksmen in this glorious game of ours.
It appears that batsmen can sometimes easily read his deliveries. But the hunger to do well, keeps him going. Be it batting, bowling or fielding, the team is very much dependent on their old warhorse.
This ongoing World Cup serves a classic example. It seems nothing that Shakib does, is less than magnificent.
For a cricketer who began easily over a decade back, suffices to say he came, saw and conquered. And he’s not done yet.
But it must be said, not everything he’s done has always turned into gold. In the game against England wherein he scored a century, Bangladesh lost to the hosts by 106 runs.
Today, to have Shakib Al Hasan in the middle sends the opposition often into delirium for there’s quite frankly nothing that this brave left-hander cannot do.
For someone whose presence alone inspires the morale of his team, Shakib’s leads by example and is an inspiration to guys like Saifuddin and Mustafizur, arguably, two of their choicest exponents of the white ball.
At 32, Shakib-Al-Hasan is at the peak of his physical and cricketing prime. Perhaps he’ll only get better in the times ahead and this could well mean a tough time for those who square against him and his beloved Bangladesh.