Shakib now wants to play all formats

Shakib Al Hasan returned to the Test format after seven monthsShamsul Haque

His eye complaint that cropped up during the ODI World Cup in India saw Shakib Al Hasan struggling during the initial phase of BPL (Bangladesh Premier League) too. But he somehow managed to get over with that mostly during the later phase of the tournament and already have played three more matches in the Dhaka Premier League. Today, he returns to Test cricket for the first time since August last year.

Shakib’s return is quite a relief for both the squad and the BCB (Bangladesh Cricket Board) especially when the former Test captain himself assures the board that he wants to play regularly for the national team in all three formats from now on.

The BCB also has been assured of Shakib’s availability during the upcoming busy schedule of international cricket following the T20 World Cup, including the next Zimbabwe tour.

BCB Cricket Operations chief Jalal Yunus confirmed this to Prothom Alo over the phone yesterday, Friday.

“On the basis of the discussion between Shakib and the board, I can say that he will be available for all three formats in the coming series. He said he wanted to play all formats.”

The eye problem also saw him unavailable for the T-20 and ODI series against Sri Lanka. He himself took the decision. He wanted to return to international cricket better prepared by playing the premier league matches. In the three premier league games for Sheikh Jamal, Shakib scored 19, 34 and 53 runs and claimed 3, 1 and 2 wickets respectively. The decision to play the Chattogram Test against Sri Lanka also came as part of the process. Shakib has informed the board that the eye problem is no longer a hindrance to his game.

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Bangladesh national team have quite a packed schedule in international cricket this year. The tigers have eight Test matches after the T20 World Cup in addition to the limited over matches this year.

BCB chief selector Gazi Ashraf Hossain is hopeful that Shakib will be available for the rest of the matches this year at least. “We hope we will be able to consider Shakib for the upcoming series and tournaments in all three formats on a regular basis,” he said.

Shakib Al Hasan at the training session at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram
Shamsul Haque

In an interview ahead of the ODI World Cup, Shakib said he wanted to continue international cricket till the Champions Trophy to be held in 2025. However, he would consider continuing playing if he can maintain good form.

The BCB, however, is not thinking that far right now. They expect Shakib to be a part of the national team without any interruption till the ICC Champions Trophy 2025.

Bangladesh actually had 10 Test matches this year in the FTP (Future Tour Programmes) schedule following the T20 World Cup. However, the two-Test match series against Afghanistan right after the world cup has been deferred at the consensus of the respective boards.

BCB chief executive officer Nizam Uddin Chowdhur on Friday said the Afghan board will organise the away series at a convenient time later. So Bangladesh will be facing Pakistan first after the world cup in a two-match away Test series in August.

The national cricket team will be on a tour to India for two Tests and three T20 matches the coming month. In October, Bangladesh will host South Africa for a two-Test series. Later, the tigers will be visiting the West Indies to play two Tests, three ODIs and three T20 matches.

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Despite declaring himself available, it will be a challenge for him to maintain fitness. He may not want to miss any series from now on. However, the board has the authority to rest him if necessary.

According to board sources, the BCB will be trying to learn more from Shakib Al Hasan about his future.

*This report appeared on the print an online versions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu