On the eve of the first ODI against Bangladesh, West Indies captain Jason Mohammed was requested concerning the menace posed by Shakib Al Hasan in his first worldwide match since his ban. Mohammed – himself returning to top-flight cricket after two years and main a comparatively inexperienced aspect – had an easy reply.
“We now have to play [Shakib] as we see it. We all know he is without doubt one of the finest going all over the world,” he stated. “We simply have to remain constructive towards him. If there are balls that we are able to rating off, we have now to attain. Whether it is good balls, we have now to defend.”
Simpler stated than completed. Shakib broke the backbone of West Indies’ batting, as he completed with the most affordable four-wicket haul in Bangladesh’s ODI historical past. Within the course of, West Indies could not rating off 35 out of his 44 deliveries.
Shakib was in his factor from his second ball, when he practically had the debutant Andre McCarthy caught at slip. Bowling from a barely straight run-up with an unmistakable loop and drift in the direction of the right-hander’s center stump, Shakib, nonetheless among the many prime 4 allrounders throughout codecs, was again. It helped that he had the chew to grab the ball away from the batsman.
McCarthy was finally his first wicket again in worldwide cricket, which was additionally his 150th at house, an attractive full ball from Shakib that he was unable to attach with a sweep shot. Mohammed fell within the 17th over, stumped to a different that turned away and dragged him ahead simply sufficient. Nkrumah Bonner was lbw in Shakib’s subsequent over, urgent ahead however unable to take away his thrusting entrance pad, thus giving Shakib figures of 7-2-8-Three in his first spell.
Shakib then returned to pack up the West Indies innings inside two balls, clear bowling Alazarri Joseph to get his fourth wicket. There’s at all times the temptation to seek out some destiny in Shakib’s efficiency. However nice cricketers like Shakib write their very own scripts by means of sheer exhausting work, endurance and – as his mentor Nazmul Abedeen Fahim defined shortly after his four-wicket haul – the usually undetected “starvation and want”.
Fahim and Mohammad Salahuddin are among the many leading coaches in Bangladesh who’re recognized for his or her mentorship of cricketers like Shakib, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and lots of others.
Shortly earlier than his one-year ban was lifted, Shakib had returned to Bangladesh in September to arrange for the Check collection towards Sri Lanka, which was scheduled to be held in October however was later postponed. Shakib went straight to BKSP, his alma mater, the place Fahim and Salahuddin helped him by means of health and abilities.
Fahim, who’s now BKSP’s cricket advisor, stated that Shakib’s exhausting work over the previous couple of months was precisely for one of these return to worldwide cricket.
“It isn’t a lot of a shock,” Fahim advised ESPNcricinfo. “I imply, I did not count on him to concede simply eight runs, however actually I anticipated him to bowl nicely, having seen how exhausting he has labored not too long ago. He has introduced on some modifications to his bowling, which we began seeing once we labored collectively in BKSP. Salahuddin labored on his bowling too.”
Fahim defined how Shakib has began to reinvent his bowling by bringing on much more than what he had been doing in the previous couple of years. “[Shakib] used to largely bowl flat and side-arm. His strengths have been tempo variation, angle and never a lot of flip. I do not know what he did throughout his break, however now he can bowl extra vertically in addition to side-arm,” he stated.
“He can bowl slowly, he can extract bounce and in addition higher flip the ball. He has bowled lots, however he began from the essential. He went step-by-step earlier than reaching what he wished to do.”
Fahim additionally stated that Shakib’s greatness invariably lies in his “fantastic perspective”, which is missed by most observers. “It reveals that he desires to develop himself extra. It reveals that he is aware of there’s room for enchancment. It is a signal of a participant who’s at all times striving to do higher. It’s a fantastic perspective.
“He’s distinctive in his want and starvation, which does not meet our eyes. We solely see him enjoying nicely. He was ready for this second and this platform,” Fahim stated.
It’s now a well-established undeniable fact that Shakib’s reticence to interact in dialog, which was seen as shyness in his early days and standoff behaviour extra not too long ago, has nothing to do along with his on-field drive to be the very best.
Within the core of Shakib Al Hasan is a cricketer who seeks greatness. What Fahim meant by “ready for this platform” was not Shakib being wanting to take wickets towards a comparatively weaker batting line-up. Quite, Shakib’s wait was to show that he’ll now be remembered for performances like his four for Eight in Mirpur.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84