Having Shakib in the team a blessing: Tamim

Shakib Al Hasan was named the player of the match in Bangladesh's third ODI against England at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on 6 March 2023Prothom Alo

Shakib Al Hasan’s brilliant all-round performance helped Bangladesh salvage some pride against England as the hosts won the third One-Day International (ODI) by 50 runs in Chattogram on Monday.

For his 75 off 71 balls innings and bowling figures of 4-35, Shakib was deservingly named the player of the match.

After the match, the expectation was that Bangladesh’s match winner would come in front of the press, soak in the adulation and talk about his match winning performance.

Shakib Al Hasan celebrates a wicket with teammates
Shamsul Hoque

But that didn’t happen. Shakib apparently didn’t want to attend the press conference and instead captain Tamim Iqbal came to face the media.

Shakib may have been physically absent from the press conference, but his name repeatedly came up in the media questions and in Tamim’s answers.

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Tamim showered Shakib with praise, “He (Shakib) was incredible today (Monday). He scored runs with the lower order batsmen, which was crucial for us. When we were bowling, the wicket wasn’t offering much assistance. The ball wasn’t spinning much either. Still, he bowled brilliantly.”

The ODI captain also said how Shakib’s performance inspires his teammates, “After seeing Shakib, Taijul (Islam) also bowled well. At first, he didn’t understand what he should be doing on that pitch. Later, Taijul also bowled well.”

Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal during the 3rd ODI
Prothom Alo

The opener was also asked the age old question about Shakib, what separates the all-rounder from other players.

“He is mentally very strong. He has performed like this many times in the past too. This is nothing new. Having a cricketer like him is a blessing for any team. His skill set is unique. A cricketer who can bowl 10 overs and also bat, there aren’t many cricketers like him,” Tamim said about his long term teammate.

In the England series, Shakib had to bat at no.5, even though his record at no.3 in ODIs in exceptional.

However, Tamim said that Shakib will continue batting in the middle-order in ODIs from here on, “For us, he will either bat at no.4 or 5. That’s for sure.”

Shakib was also mentioned during England captain Joss Buttler’s press conference, who also heaped praises on the all-rounder, “Great cricketer. His numbers tell you what a huge cricketer he is. He was brilliant in the 2019 World Cup, we haven’t forgotten that.”