The Bangabandhu T20 Cup begins tomorrow with Dhaka and Rajshahi facing off against each other in the curtain-raiser. But the spotlight is on the second match of the day where Shakib returns to competitive cricket after a year-long ban. Shakib has been on the news since he returned home earlier this month, but this time his much-awaited return to cricket is creating hype and excitement all through the cricket fraternity.
The ace all-rounder was banned for two years, with one year of the suspended ban in October last year by the International Cricket Council (ICC). He will be playing his first match against Fortune Barishal in the second match of the opening day of the Bangabandhu T20 Cup.
The cricket fraternity, including his rival captains, welcomed his return. Everyone believes that Shakib will be in his usual business from the word go.
Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib's one of the oldest friends, believes the whole cricket world has been waiting for this day for a year now. "He is the number one all-rounder, and our number one player," said Mushfiq.
Mushi hopes the young cricketers playing for or against him, will learn a lot of things about cricket since there are no foreign players this time around.
Gemcon Khulna's captain, Mahmudullah Riyad, has noticed no rustiness in Shakib so far and believes he will be in his top gear from the word go. "There should be no questions about his caliber and capability. I haven't seen any rustiness in him so far. He is raring to go," said Khulna's skipper.
"Every individual is different. We should respect each other. We sometimes judge people by knowing things from different perspectives. We should look for positivity in everyone," Riyad said about the controversies surrounding Shakib.
Shakib's one of the finest friends, Tamim Iqbal, is excited to play against his old friend again. He believes Shakib has been waiting for this for so long.
"As he'll be playing against me, I will try to minimise his impact in the game as much as I can. This is a huge day for him and Bangladesh cricket. I believe he'll go strength to strength from tomorrow," said Tamim.
Shakib last played international cricket in September last year in a tri-nation T20 series against Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. He played in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in mid-October and was banned on October 29 last year.