Shakib Al Hasan, without a shred of doubt, is the biggest name to have emerged from Bangladesh cricket. At one stage of his career, he was the best all-round cricketer across formats and still is the best ODI all-rounder in ODIs, despite not playing international cricket for a long time. Shakib has never shied away from controversies throughout his career. In other words, controversies have never stopped chasing him.
But whenever he was reprimanded or suspended for disciplinary or other reasons or critics tried to write him off, he always let the bat and ball do the talking for him. Shakib has made it into a habit now. The Business Standard (TBS) takes a look at some highs and lows of Shakib Al Hasan's career as well as the instances when he hushed up his doubters with stellar performances.
Rise to the pinnacle
Shakib basically started his career as a batsman who could bowl. Shakib was still in the nascent stage of his career when New Zealand toured Bangladesh in 2008. By that time, he only played six Tests and picked up only three wickets. But then something happened that ignited the fire within him.
Bangladesh head coach Jamie Siddons suddenly announced that Shakib would play as a specialist bowler. The move paid dividends immediately with Shakib claiming 7/36 against New Zealand, the then best figures by a Bangladeshi in Tests. He hasn't looked back since.
Shakib performed sensationally with the ball in Tests in South Africa. The southpaw played a match-winning knock of 92* off 69 against Sri Lanka in a triangular series in 2009 to get Bangladesh over the line with bonus points. Consistent performances in ODI cricket saw him become the top ranked ODI all-rounder in 2009. He captained Bangladesh in their first overseas Test series win. He kept on performing and in 2015, he became the top all-rounder across formats.
Indecent gesture on live TV and aftermath
Shakib Al Hasan got out scoring only 24 in the final ODI against Sri Lanka in early 2014. He was visibly disturbed and made an indecent gesture on live television when the camera was focused on him in the players' balcony after his dismissal.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) penalised him for breaching their code of conduct. He was banned for two matches of the 2014 Asia Cup and fined BDT 30,000.
A Shakib-less Bangladesh lost to India and put on a horrible show against a relatively weaker Afghanistan side and lost that as well. Shakib returned against Pakistan and came into bat towards the end of the innings. He bludgeoned an unbeaten 16-ball 44 which still remains the joint-fastest individual innings (minimum 15 balls) in Bangladesh's ODI history. He returned with bowling figures of 2/53 as well. Shahid Afridi's late blitz denied Bangladesh a win but certainly it was some comeback for Shakib.
The NOC fiasco and a royal comeback
Shakib was suspended from all forms of cricket for six months by the BCB in July 2014 for 'severe attitude problem'. He had left for the Caribbean without a valid No Objection Certificate (NOC) and reportedly threatened to retire from Tests and T20Is when coach Chandika Hathurusingha told him to return and join the national team training camp. Although Shakib later denied it, he was ordered by the BCB to return home and handed a six-month ban.
The punishment was severe and the BCB later reduced it to three months. Shakib made his comeback to international cricket in November through an ODI series against Zimbabwe.
In his comeback match, he smashed a hundred and bagged a four-wicket haul. The all-rounder, still now, is the only Bangladeshi to achieve the feat. In the second match of his comeback Test series, Shakib became only the third cricketer in the history of Test cricket after Ian Botham and Imran Khan to score a hundred and picked up ten wickets in the same Test match.
Glorious World Cup performance
Shakib Al Hasan had played three World Cups before that. He did not do too badly in any of them. Shakib had been around for a while, almost quietly piling up runs and picking up wickets. The world did not quite take notice of his performances because Bangladesh rarely played against top sides. Before the World Cup, Shakib felt that this was the chance to show his capability to the world.
In a recent interview, he said that while playing in franchise leagues, he felt that the cricket world tends to undermine Bangladeshi cricketers. Shakib wanted to change it. And can there be a better stage than a Cricket World Cup to do so?
Shakib crossed the 50-run mark in seven out of eight innings including two hundreds. He scored 606 runs and picked up 11 wickets, becoming the only player in the history of the World Cup to achieve the double of 500 runs and 10 wickets. He was the most valuable player of the tournament.
One-year ban and another Shakib-esque comeback
Shakib was, of course, was named in the Bangladesh squad for an historic India tour in 2019/20. But what happened after that was not only the lowest point in Shakib's career but also a shocking moment for Bangladesh cricket. On October 29, 2019, Shakib was banned for two years, one year of it suspended, after he had failed to report multiple approaches from bookmakers.
Bangladesh didn't play much cricket though due to Covid-19. Domestic cricket returned to Bangladesh through the BCB President's Cup and Bangabandhu T20 Cup. Shakib's ban was over before the commencement of the latter and he played in it for Gemcon Khulna.
Shakib did not have a particularly good tournament. He looked out of sorts with the bat and not at his best with the ball either. Many started to doubt Shakib, whether he could emulate his World Cup performances in international cricket.
Shakib played his first ODI in 18 months against the West Indies in Mirpur on 20 January, 2021. He delivered a stellar performance as he returned with figures 7.2-2-8-4. This was the best bowling performance by a Bangladeshi bowler against the West Indies. Shakib's spell was also the most economical one by a Bangladeshi bowler in ODIs with three or more wickets. Later, he spent some time in the middle and scored 19 on a difficult wicket. He bagged the player of the match award too.