The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) announced the national players' contract for the period of January to December 2022 on Thursday. Five players have been given all-format contracts including all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan who, just days ago, opted out of the South Africa tour.
Shakib has recently been granted a break until 30 April from all forms of cricket and will miss the Test and ODI series in South Africa. Bangladesh visited South Africa the last time without Shakib too as he took a six-month break from the longest format just before the series. Since then, Shakib has missed 18 out of 26 Tests Bangladesh played due to injury and personal reasons. Shakib did not feature in the Test series Bangladesh played in New Zealand earlier this year as well.
Shakib said he 'felt like a passenger' in the recently concluded Afghanistan series and mentioned he needs a break from cricket citing his physical and mental fatigue and stress. The all-rounder is currently in the UAE and the BCB was supposed to sit with him after his return but his inclusion in the central contracts in all formats suggests that the board wants Shakib to play across formats.
Chief selector Minhajul Abedin and selector Abdur Razzak talked with the media on Friday morning about the annual contract and Shakib's inclusion.
"The break [until April 30] that you are talking about is nothing official. There is no rule that you have to exclude a player if he takes a break from two series. The fact is, the board spoke to the players about their preferences of formats and then announced the list," said Razzak.
"Shakib hasn't left or retired from a specific format. A player of his stature can't just be left out if he doesn't leave himself. We haven't really spoken to him and so it won't be right to say anything about that," he added.
"He's available after the South Africa tour," said Minhajul. "We have information that he will be available for all three formats. He is one of the world's best all-rounders. We always want him at his best. Since we have a lot of matches this year, he has been given an all-format contract. We submitted the [contract] list a month ago. We will speak to him once he returns. I hope that he will return refreshed and play all three formats."