ICC World Cup: It’s been a cup of woes for Shakib Al Hasan so far
Under-fire Bangladesh skipper dashed off to Dhaka to sort out his batting problems with childhood coach
Now 36, Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan is a perfect case of been there, done that. It often passes under the radar that he, along with teammate Mushfiqur Rahim, are playing their fifth 50-over ICC World Cup and were part of a side which famously upset the Rahul Dravid-led India in the 2007 edition.
However, the best allrounder of his country surely did not bargain for his final bow in the showpiece to end in such an underwhelming manner. The man who scored 606 runs, including two centuries, in the 2019 edition, has registered scores of 14, 1, 40 and 1 in four innings so far and looks desperate to make amends in a low-key contest against the Netherlands at Eden Gardens on Saturday, 28 October.
First a war of words with his longtime friend and teammate Tamim Iqbal in the build-up to the event, then an indifferent campaign by his team and poor personal form — life has not been easy for the superstar from India's neighbouring country. Neither did he help things with his sudden departure for home from Mumbai after their last defeat, ostensibly to work on certain aspects of his batting with childhood coach Nazmul Abedin.
An unusual move this, which betrays his lack of trust in the team management’s wisdom — more so since it’s not a bilateral series but the World Cup. A media report says he received a harsh welcome, with fans booing and chanting bhoa-bhoa-bhoa (fake) as he left the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) academy premises on Thursday after a net session with Abedin. He flew into Kolkata, a short flight from Dhaka, the same evening and joined his teammates at the nets.
What has been ailing Shakib with the bat? Nazmul told Cricbuzz that opposition bowlers have sorted him out and not been giving him room to play the drive or the cut shots. ‘’He was not given the ball outside the off stump, no cuts or drives if you have noticed. He was trying to play on the on-side because that line was bowled to him,’’ he said.
‘’Spinners throughout bowled a middle and leg line and he was stuck — which ultimately forced him to play over the top and he was successful to a certain extent, but I think his main shots are on the off side and they have got stuck by bowling on the leg side and forcing him to play on the leg side and I think that is the reason he was not scoring quickly enough or safely enough,’’ he said.
Incidentally, Shakib had been categorical on the eve of the tournament that he was not interested in leading the side after this World Cup and would retire from all formats after the 2023 Champions Trophy. Speaking to a local sports channel, he had said: ‘’As far as international career is concerned, what I see at this moment it is up to the 2025 Champions Trophy, for the ODI format. For the T20 format, up to the 2024 World Cup, that's it. As far as Tests go, maybe sooner, maybe after the World Cup.’’
It’s been a fabulous career alright — albeit with the occasional scar, such as when he was banned by the ICC for failing to report approaches for corrupt practices from 2019 to 2021. Surely, he deserves a good send-off.