He is considered to be the greatest ever cricketer Bangladesh have ever produced. CricketSoccer recently caught up with Shakib Al Hasan in Kolkata. The world number one all-rounder opens up his mind about IPL, ICC Champions Trophy, and Bangladesh’s chances.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer: You have to sit in the dugout in most part of the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year, looking for a spot in the playing XI of Kolkata Knight Riders. Was there any frustration on your part?
Shakib Al Hasan: Look, we are professional cricketers. There is a set combination in every team and players are selected seeing the opposition. Those who don’t play want to make the most of the opportunity when they get a chance. This is a team principle and I respect the team management’s decision.
CS: KKR have suddenly begun to lose matches. What went wrong in the midway of the tournament?
Shakib: We lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rising Pune Supergiant in two back to back matches. And in both the matches, we lost to some excellent individual performances. In the match vs Hyderabad, David Warner single handedly took the match away from us. In the Pune match, it was Rahul Tripathi who played the spoilsport.
CS: What went through your mind when you had to watch from the dugout that one Warner smashed the KKR bowlers?
Shakib: From the opposition dugout, it is a torture watching him bat the way he did. It was one of the best innings in the IPL. Warner is a match winner on his day. But it was not great for us. We were in a good position in the points table and now we have to focus on the remaining matches.
CS: How would you rate Gautam Gambhir as a skipper?
Shakib: Gauti is exceptional. Seven years I have played under him. The way he runs the team is superb. The way he handles the team, it’s great. It’s not easy to lead in franchise cricket. In the last seven years, we have qualified for knockouts or reached the top four. Not many teams have managed to do so. In 2012 and 2014 we have become champions, both under him. It is for him that the team is doing well.
CS: And how would you describe Jack Kallis as the coach?
Shakib: Very good. Like a great player, he is a great coach. Very helpful. He always tries to help us improve our performance.
CS: As Champions Trophy knocking at the door, how are you seeing Bangladesh’s chances?
Shakib: I feel our group is tougher. All teams are good. Australia, England – all are tough opponents. South Africa always do well. But we are confident enough of doing well in a world event so that people remember our show. In recent times, we are doing quite well in all three formats of the game, especially in the limited overs version. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
CS: The tournament will be played in UK. So will it make your job as a team more difficult?
Shakib: I don’t think so. We will be having a ten days preparatory camp there before the tournament starts. That will help us to get accustomed to the condition of England as well. And we are professional players and expected to do well in any given circumstances.
CS: Whom do you think to be the favourite to lift the trophy?
Shakib: I think Australia and England are two favourite teams. Australia is the current World Champion and England will be playing on their home soil.
CS: Do you think if India boycotts the Champions Trophy, it will hamper the popularity of the tournament?
Shakib: I am not the right person to answer this question.
CS: You have been selected T20 captain of the Bangladesh Cricket team. What would you say?
Shakib: Any responsibility is challenging. It depends on how you take it. Yes, we are doing well of late but we don’t have a good T20 record. We need to improve on that aspect.