There are so many influential and important figures in the history of any given country. From politicians to philanthropists, educationists to scientists. writers to artists – people from every single profession have their own importance that is compared to nothing else en route to the development of a country. But in case of most countries, of course barring the most developed countries like the United States of America or China or Russia, sportspersons are the most common names to feature as the greatest representatives of a country.
For example, you hear the name of Argentina, and the name of either Diego Maradona or Lionel Messi is most likely to be the very first to pop up in your head. It’s nothing to be surprised of. It’s just basic psychology. There are more than 200 countries in the world, and it is not possible for a normal person (unless he/she is to obtain first position in any entrance exam for varsity exam or job) to identify and remember the name of the most important personality of each and every country, if not that country has a very popular artist, or you daresay, a sportsperson.
Now, let’s get straight to our today’s topic. If one is to answer who the greatest ever flag bearer of Bangladesh in the world stage is since its independence from Pakistan in the year 1971, the name of Shakib Al Hasan, the cricketer, is probably the automatic choice to almost everyone.
One must wonder, what makes Shakib so important that he is more widely recognized in the outer world than any other Bangladeshi? Well, it’s not just about fames. It’s also about successes and achievements. Human beings always thrive for success, and they also pay honour and respect to people who stand head and shoulders above the rest. And this is the reason Shakib is such a popular Bangladeshi to the non-Bangladeshis.
Being the first at anything, to be honest, is very rare for the Bangladeshis. They hardly achieve the pole position in any multinational sector. But Shakib is an exception. He is someone who is not only the prime cricketer of this generation in Bangladesh, but he is also the only sportsperson ever in the history of the country to obtain the topmost rank in any sport.
Shakib is currently the best all-rounder in the ODI and Test formats of cricket, and also the third best in the shortest version of the game. And it’s not long ago when he was the number one in all three formats at the same time, subsequently. There is simply no other sector where a Bangladeshi has reached the peak of success like what Shakib has done in cricket.
That is why, despite cricket not being one of the key factors to the development of a country by any means, the 31 years old from Magura District is the most rightful person to represent Bangladesh in the international arena, proving that the Bangladeshis also have the capability to be the best.
One must be astonished to get to know today, given the fact that the stature of Shakib is as a cricket, that he might have been lost to football instead, but for several turns of fate. From a very tender age, Shakib was a great devotee of sports. However, football always used to be the bigger draw for him, as his father had played the game for Khulna Division and a cousin had gone on to represent Bangladesh, so football more or less ran in the family.
Cricket was on the sporting curriculum though, and the fashion among the youth was “tape-tennis” cricket. Shakib was fairly proficient and was often “hired” to play for different villages. One such game changed his life.
As we get to know from Prothom Alo sports editor Utpal Shuvro, a local umpire called Saddam Hossain was impressed by the kid’s prowess and called him to practise with the Islampur Para Club, one of the teams in the Magura Cricket League. Shakib turned up and, as was his wont, batted aggressively and bowled fast. That was what he knew best. Then, suddenly, inexplicably, he began bowling spin – and had the batsmen totally flummoxed.
He made the cut for the Islampur team and picked up a wicket with the first ball on his Magura Cricket League debut – his first-ever delivery with a proper cricket ball. After receiving formal cricket training at Bangladesh Krira Shiksha Pratishthan (BKSP) for sometime, Shakib caught the eyes of the BCB selectors, and got himself landed into the national age-level teams.
Debut For Bangladesh
His first noteworthy performance that got everyone talking about him came in 2005 in the final of a Under-19 tri-nation series involving England and Sri Lanka as the other two participating teams. In that match, Shakib not only hit a 86-ball century, but also took three wickets with the ball in hand, and played the pivotal role in his team’s victory. And from then on, there was no looking back. In next one year, Shakib played as many as 18 Youth ODI matches, and to his credit, scored 563 runs at an average of 35.18, and took 22 wickets at an average of 20.18.
After such tremendous performance both as a batsman and as a bowler in the age-level cricket, an international debut was always eminent for Shakib. And finally that came on August 6, 2006. Shakib’s debut came in the 50-over format of the game against Zimbabwe. He produced quite a decent performance in this match, scoring 30 runs before plucking the wicket of Elton Chigumbura to cement his place in the side.
Shakib also made his T20I debut in the same year, against same opposition on November 18. This happened to be Bangladesh’s very first T20I match, and Shakib once again made no mistake to make a mark. He first scored 28-ball 26, slightly unT20istic though, but then made amends by picking up a wicket.
On the other hand, it took Shakib 8 more months to wear his Test cap, that he got against India on May 8. In that match, Shakib scored 27 runs in the first innings, and didn’t bat in the second. He remained wicketless with the ball, as the rain-interrupted match ended in a dull draw.
Since debut, Shakib has so far played 51 Tests, 185 ODIs and 63 T20Is. And as already said several times before, Shakib’s performance as an all-rounder across formats has been simply tremendous. Shakib is someone who is quite capable of making to the playing XI of any present team of the world, courtesy of either of his batting or his bowling, if not the both subsequently. And this makes him the genuine all-rounder, which is a rare bread in today’s generation of modern cricket.
As a batsman, Shakib holds the willow with his left hand. Till now, he has scored 3594 runs from 96 Test innings, with the help of 5 hundreds and 22 half centuries, at an average of 40.38. His highest score in Tests is 217 that he made against New Zealand in Wellington in early last year. Incidentally this is the highest ever individual Test score by a Bangladeshi batsman. However, he was the third man after Mushfiqur Rahim (200 against Sri Lanka in 2013) and Tamim Iqbal (206 against Pakistan in 2015) to register a 200-plus innings in Test cricket. Overall Shakib is the second highest run-getter of Bangladesh in this particular format, just behind his friend Tamim (3985).
In the ODIs too is Shakib the second highest run-getter of Bangladesh, behind none other than Tamim. While Tamim so far has scored 6018 runs, Shakib has 5243 runs to his name at 34.95, with his highest individual score being a 134 not out against Canada in 2007. Shakib has 7 hundreds and 37 fifties in this format. His strike rate, as far as the 50-over cricket is concerned, is also more than decent – 81.06.
If Shakib has room for improvement in any format, then it must be the T20Is. Maybe Shakib has the experience of playing 20-over cricket all over the world, but still his batting records in this format is just not satisfactory at all. From 63 innings, he has gathered a mere 1237 runs at 22.49 with his strike rate too being just about okay – 120.68. He has 6 fifties in this format, but yet to reach the three-figure mark. His T20I highest score 84 came against Pakistan in the ICC World T20 2012. Even in this format, Shakib is Bangladesh’s second highest run-getter, 203 runs less than Tamim (1440).
As a bowler, however, Shakib’s numbers are much more impressive and the best among all Bangladeshi bowlers. The slow left-arm orthodox spinner has so far picked up 188 Test wickets from 86 innings, and he is just 12 wickets away from becoming the first ever Bangladeshi bowler to have taken more than 200 wickets in the elite version of the game. His Test average as a bowler is 32.37, while the strike rate being 64.3. His best innings figure is 7 for 36 that he achieved against New Zealand in 2008. His best match figure of 10 for 124 came against Zimbabwe came against Zimbabwe in 2014. He has as many as 17 five-wicket hauls, and 10 wickets in a match twice.
On 28 August 2017, Shakib became only the fourth bowler in Test cricket after South Africa’s paceman Dale Steyn and Sri Lanka’s spin duo Muttiah Muralitharan and Rangana Herath to get a five-for against all other nine Test playing nations (sans Ireland and Afghanistan, of course) and, two days later, secured his second ten-wicket haul and second successive five-for to deliver Bangladesh’s maiden Test win over Australia. In that match. he also became only the second bowler to take a 10-wicket haul in Tests between Bangladesh and Australia. Stuart MacGill achieved this feat during the 2003 Test in Cairns.
In ODIs, Shakib has collected 235 wickets from 182 innings. His average and strike rate are 29.48 and 39.7 respectively. He has 7 four-wicket hauls, and just a single five-wicket haul, that came against Zimbabwe in 2015. His 5 for 47 in that match marks his best bowling figure in ODI cricket. His economy rate is a tremendous 4.44 compared to modern time’s run-flowing cricket.
Shakib has so far taken 75 T20I wickets from 62 innings, with his economy being an extraordinary (by all sense) 6.78. An average of 20.61, and an strike rate of 18.2, with 3 four wicket-hauls and a best match figure of 4 for 15 against Oman in the ICC World T20 2016 only add to his legacy as one of the finest bowlers in the history of T20I cricket.
Shakib is Bangladesh’s highest wicket-taker in all three formats, which is undoubtedly a mesmerizing record, given the fact that no other bowler in the world has any such record to his tally. However, all-time greats like England’s Jimmy Anderson, India’s Anil Kumble, Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan, Pakistan’s Wasim Akram, West Indies’ Courtney Walsh, Zimbabwe’s Heath Streak and South Africa’s Shaun Pollock hold the record of being the highest wicket-takers of their respective teams in ODIs and Tests.
Most Unique Records
Shakib overall has 10074 runs to his name across formats, and early this year in January during the tri-nation series comprising Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, Shakib became only the second Bangladesh batsman after Tamim to reach the 10000-run landmark. Meanwhile, Shakib also has 498 wickets in total across formats, which gives him entrance to the elite club of 10000 runs and 400 wickets double. He is only the fourth member of the club, as only Shahid Afridi (Pakistan), Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) and Jacques Kallis (South Africa) are the other three all-rounders who have such double.
And more importantly, when Shakib gets two more wickets, he is all set to become only the third cricketer ever, after Afridi and Kallis, to have the double of 10000 runs and 500 wickets across formats. With the three-match T20 series against Afghanistan in India looming on the horizon, it is highly likely that Shakib will make no mistake to seal that unique record just there. And it will be even more significant for him, as he will be leading the Bangladesh side in the series.
As far as unique records are concerned, Shakib has some more of this kind to his credit. In 2014, Shakib scored scored a century (137), and then finished with match bowling figures of 10 for 10/134, which allowed him to follow in the footsteps of England’s Ian Botham and Pakistan’s Imran Khan to score a century and also finish with a match figure of 10-plus wickets simultaneously in the same Test match.
It is of no surprise whatsoever that Shakib has the most number of Man of the Match and Man of the Series awards among the Bangladeshis. So far he has been adjudged the Man of the Match on 27 occasions – 18 times in ODIs, 6 times in Tests and thrice in T20Is. He has also won 8 Man of the Series awards, five in ODIs and three in Tests. However he is yet to be adjudged Man of the Series in T20Is.
Number One All-rounder
Shakib is currently the best all-rounder in ODIs and Tests, and the third best in T20I cricket. He first became ICC’s top ranked all-rounder in ODIs and then in Tests in 2009. Since then, he has been in a on-again off-again number one all-rounder in all three formats. But not before 2015 could he become the best all-rounder in all three formats at the same time.
Since then, sitting on the top of all three simultaneously has become a rather more common affair for Shakib. Even in the previous year, he was the “runaway leader” in all-rounder rankings across all three formats of cricket in 2017, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced after the rankings were updated.
“Among all-rounders, Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan was the runaway leader across formats with Ashwin-Jadeja (of India) in Tests, Mohammad Hafeez (of Pakistan) in ODIs and Glen Maxwell (of Australia) in T20Is snatching the baton from him at different points in time,” the ICC said in a statement.
Batting or Bowling All-rounder?
With Shakib being equally effective both in batting and bowling, it is a common question for him to face during interview sessions as to what he really is, a batting all-rounder or a bowling all-rounder. But to Shakib, none of them matters as much as it matters to him to have the privilege of becoming a cricketer. Maybe that’s why his replies are always part laconic, part genuine uncertainty: “I am a cricketer.”
Asked where he sees himself at the end of his career, he replies: “I never go by records, statistics and rankings. I believe one must take into account all aspects of the game. I want the world to remember me as proficient in all three categories – batting, bowling and fielding. Bowlers will think twice when I bat, similarly batsmen will be wary of my skills with the ball, and they will hesitate to take runs when the ball comes my way on the field.”
Domestic and Franchise Cricket
With the emergence and ongoing development of franchise based cricket tournaments played in the T20 format, Shakib has become one of the very handful of players to have the experience of playing in almost all major T20 tournaments around the world, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), Big Bash League (BBL), Pakistan Super League (PSL), Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and of course, Bangladesh’s very own Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).
And by playing in so many tournaments, one thing is for quite certain that Shakib has taken his legacy to a whole new level.
During this season’s IPL, he has become just the second person in history to reach the Twenty20 milestone of 4,000 runs and 300 wickets. Only Caribbean T20 star Dwayne Bravo has previously reached that impressive double. The 34-year-old Bravo – who is playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL – has 5,607 career runs in the 20-over format, to go with 417 wickets from his 380 games.
Shakib is now just one of five players to record 300 T20 wickets, and the first left-armer to achieve the feat. Along with Bravo and Shakib, Sri Lanka seamer Lasith Malinga (348), West Indies spinner Sunil Narine (324) and Pakistan legend Shahid Afridi (300) have reached the bowling milestone.
Shakib has some great domestic records. Domestically, he represented Khulna Division since 2004, and in 2010 he spent several months playing for Worcestershire in England, becoming the first Bangladeshi player to represent an English county cricket team. From 2011 to 2017, he played for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in IPL, and won two titles with them, in 2012 and 2014. In the most recent season of the IPL, he played for Sunrisers Hyderabad, contributed some great all-round efforts, and guided them to the final, before losing to Chennai Super Kings by 8 wickets. Shakib won the CPL title with Jamaica Tallawahs, and he will play for Barbados Tridents this season. His best bowling figure of 4-1-6-6 also came in CPL in 2013 while playing for Barbados against T&T Steel.
He played for Adelaide Strikers in 2014 replacing the injured Johan Botha, thus becoming the first Bangladeshi to play in the Big Bash League. In the next season, he played for Melbourne Renegades. Shakib played for Karachi Kings in 2016 and Peshawar Zalmi in 2017 in the PSL. He represented Uthura Rudras in the 2012 Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL).
In the first season of Bangladesh Premier League, he captained Khulna Royal Bengals, and in the second season he led Dhaka Gladiators to the tournament title. He played for Rangpur Riders in the 2015 BPL season. In 2016 and 2017, he played for Dhaka Dynamites, and guided them to the championship last season.
Shakib is currently Bangladesh’s captain in two formats – Tests and T20Is, with Mashrafe Bin Mortaza still the captain of the 50-over format, and expected to remain so at least until the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. However, captaincy is nothing new for the maverick all-rounder that Shakib is. Hne took on took on the captaincy for the first time during a tour of the West Indies in 2009 when the regular captain Mashrafe Mortaza was injured, and kept it due to Mortaza’s prolonged absence until July 2010 when he stood down to focus on his personal performance.
However, the reappointed Mortaza broke down again during the first game against New Zealand in October 2010 with Shakib once more taking over. He held the post through the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup – co-hosted by Bangladesh alongside India and Sri Lanka. Shakib was dropped as the Bangladesh captain following the team’s disappointing performance in Zimbabwe in September 2011. Shakib, along with his deputy Tamim Iqbal, paid the price for Bangladesh’s 130-run defeat in the solitary Test in Harare and a 3-2 defeat in the one-day series.
Once again Shakib was made captain of Bangladesh T20I side in April last year, following the controversial exit of the then T20I captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza. Then in December of the same year, Shakib was appointed the new Test captain of the Tigers as well, replacing Mushfiqur Rahim on the post. Shakib previously led the side in nine Tests between 2009 ad 2011. Despite being appointed as the new captain of the side, Shakib was absent from Bangladesh’s only Test series this year against Sri Lanka at home, as he was ruled out with a finger injury.
Shakib is unarguably the most controversial player in the history of Bangladesh cricket. While making the headlines regularly for his cricketing brilliance on the field, he quite often hits the headlines for on and off the field wrong reasons as well. For example, he was handed a six-month suspension by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) in 2014 citing “severe attitude problem”.
The punishment was handed out because of Shakib’s “serious misbehaviour” with Bangladesh’s then-new coach Chandika Hathurusingha, and for his altercation with a spectator during a recent ODI match against India in Mirpur.
“He has a severe attitude problem, which is unprecedented in the history of Bangladesh cricket. We think that his behaviour is such that it’s directly impacting the team,” BCB president Nazmul Hassan had told the reporters that time.
Since then, Shakib has been very cautious about his behaviour, and trying to avoid controversies as much as possible. But not long ago did he once again become the central figure of a major controversy, when he came to the edge of the boundary and gestured at his batsmen to come off the field while remonstrating against an umpiring decision during a match against Sri Lanka in the Nidahas Trophy in March this year. But fortunate for the all-rounder, he wasn’t suspended or anything for this, and was only fined 25 percent of his match fee, though he was strongly criticized for such gesture by the cricket pundits all around the world.
In his personal life, Shakib is happily married to Umme Ahmed Shishir, with whom he has a beautiful little girl Alaina Hasan Abri. Shakib is a big fan of FC Barcelona, with Argentine forward Lionel Messi is his most favourite player. Shakib has to dreams to fulfil in his life, a) watch an El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Nou Camp, and b) have a dinner with his icon Messi.
Shakib has a huge market value as the biggest superstar of the country. He is the brand ambassador of Banglalink, Lenovo, Singer, OXY Automobiles, Huawei, IFAD etc. He has also been UNICEF’s goodwill ambassador for Bangladesh. He also has his own restaurant in Dhaka. In a report published back in 2016, Shakib’s net worth was said to be 35 million dollars (273 crore Bangladeshi Taka).