Harsha Bhogle, the famous Indian cricket pundit, analyst and commentator, recently took an interview of world’s number one all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who is now in India to take part in the ongoing 10th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Here is an excerpt of the interview.
Bhogle: You are regarded as the first serious superstar of Bangladesh cricket. Do you also think that way?
Shakib: (laugh) No, not really. As far as cricket is concerned, I am doing well at the moment, and I am happy and satisfied with that. But I never think about those things.
Bhogle: You are among the very few Bangladesh cricketers who are wanted in different leagues all around the world. So, now you are back in KKR. How do you rate different leagues around the world. Where does IPL sit compared to the other leagues for you?
Shakib: Obviously the atmosphere is totally different. You don’t get this kind of atmosphere anywhere else in the world. So obviously the atmosphere and intensity are high. As far as cricket is concerned, there’s not much difference. But… I don’t like to compare between things. Still, if you really want to compare, this is the best tournament that’s going around in the world right now.
Bhogle: So, when you go back to Bangladesh, do a lot of people ask you about your IPL experience?
Shakib: Oh yes. Yes, they do. They come to me with a lot of questions. They ask me about the things, about the experiences. More about things outside the field than the inside the field stuff. But yeah, it has been a great journey for me so far.
Bhogle: And you are playing for Kolkata side, which has natural affiliation of Bengalees just like Dhaka does. Is that a bigger connect for you?
Shakib: Yes, I would say that. In fact, I always say that Kolkata is my second home (laugh). This is my seventh year here. We speak the same language, the culture is same. Everything is quite similar. It couldn’t be any better than this for me. Actually if you go by road, my house is not very far from here (Kolkata). It takes you only four or five hours ofdrive to reach my house.
Bhogle: (laugh) So you can go to your house between the games to have some sleep?
Shakib: Yes, I did that few times actually in last couple of years. Whenever I needed a break, I took the morning flight and came back in the evening flight. I did that. Good fun, it was indeed good fun for me.
Bhogle: When you are coming here in Kolkata, you are wearing KKR jersey, do you feel there are more people back in Bangladesh following KKR than before?
Shakib: Definitely. The matches I play for KKR, I am sure almost all the people in Bangladesh will tune in and look for me on the TV. And it’s not only just me. Mustafizur (Rahman) is playing for Hyderabad, and now everyone watches Hyderabad’s matches. Previously I hardly heard anyone talking about Hyderabad matches, but now they are talking about and following Hyderabad because Mustafizur is playing. So, as I said, they (Bangladesh people) are so much attached with cricket that whenever we go somewhere to play, they follow and try to support that team.
Bhogle: Any experience with Shah Rukh in KKR?
Shakib: It’s been great. He has been so humble, so passionate, so nice to talk to. And every time we met, we talked about how we should care about our families. He gave me a lot of advice as to how I could keep my wife happy all the time (laugh). Those are some really good advice that I got from him. Actualy from what I think, these are the reasons why people like him so much. I realized it from the way he talked to me. His humbleness, his way of talking – they are just fantastic.
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- Jannatul Naym Pieal, Correspondent, bdcrictime.com