Star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan returned to international cricket after 18 months through the first of the three-match ODI series against the West Indies. He returned with a bang, registering a four-wicket haul and bagging the player of the match award.
Shakib 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.
The all-rounder, after the match, said that he only focused on putting the ball in the right areas. "My focus was to put the ball in the right areas, and let the pitch do the rest of the work."
Shakib wasn't in good form with the bat in the recently concluded Bangabandhu T20 Cup and did not score many runs against West Indies. But the performances in domestic cricket do not bother him. "To be honest, I don't count the domestic games. Outside the dressing room, people may think about those performances. But I don't. What matters the most to me is how I represent my country. I thought I was batting well, and I got out. I've got to do better in my next game. We were all a bit nervous playing after such a long time, but this [win] will calm us down for the next game."
Shakib delivered an unforgettable performance batting in at number three in the 2019 World Cup. But he has now dropped down to number four to accommodate Najmul Hossain Shanto in the batting line-up. But Shakib puts the team first and said that it doesn't make any difference to him. "Look, I have to respect the decision that the coach, skipper and management have taken. It doesn't matter whether I agree to it or disagree. I always put the team first. I believe that the success of the team is more important than individual success. So it (batting in at four) won't make much of a difference."
Shakib refuses to take this West Indies team lightly and said that they are very much capable of playing well. "We always respect them. They are more than capable of playing good cricket. The wicket was tough today. We played better than them because of the experience we have. But that doesn't mean we'll win the next matches easily. We have to work hard," said Shakib.
Shakib jokingly mentioned that they might have sent their second-string squad because Bangladesh beat their full-strength side in the 2019 World Cup.
Bangladesh will face the visitors in the second ODI on Friday.