The many hats of Shakib Al Hasan

Shakib Al Hasan seen wearing graduation headgear during the convocation ceremony at his university in Dhaka on 19 March 2023Collected

‘Here, there and everywhere’ is the name of a famous song from the Beatles. It’s a love song, written by Paul McCartney where he expresses his desire to always have his lover around him.

No, this song has no connection with the man in discussion, Shakib Al Hasan. But the title of the song encapsulates what Shakib’s life seems like from a distance at the moment.

Just this Saturday, Shakib was in Sylhet, hitting a brilliant 93 against Ireland and becoming the third player in history to amass more than 7000 runs and capture 300-plus wickets in One-Day Internationals (ODI).

Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan plays a shot during the first ODI between Bangladesh and Ireland at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium in Sylhet on 18 March 2023

The next day he is in Dhaka, graduating from his university. By the time this written piece sees the light of day, the all-rounder will be back in Sylhet for the second ODI against Ireland.

Bangladesh’s home series against England ended on 14 March and just three days later, the Ireland series kicked off.

Shakib Al Hasan gives a speech during his convocation

In between that, Shakib went to Dubai for a jewellery store opening, which once again made the all-rounder a matter of national debate as the owner of that said store is an absconder from Bangladesh, accused of killing a police officer.

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Even before that, Shakib had gone to inaugurate a clothing shop in Chattogram on 14 March, mere hours after leading Bangladesh to a 3-0 sweep in the Twenty20 series.

While leaving the shop, Shakib had to walk through a sea of people to reach his car. During that, a ‘fan’ tried to snatch Shakib’s cap, but the all-rounder grabbed it back and then whacked that man repeatedly on the head with it.

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Right before the England series, Shakib missed two meetings at the team hotel with Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan as he was busy attending corporate events instead.

Shakib alongside Liton Das and Mustafizur Rahman has already applied for a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the BCB to take part in the Indian Premier League (IPL), which starts on 31 March.

The trio is likely to get the NOC, which would mean that Shakib will be in the Kolkata Knight Riders dugout when Bangladesh take on Ireland in the one-off Test in Dhaka next month.

Shakib Al Hasan celebrates a wicket during the first ODI against Ireland

Shakib’s life has been this frantic for the past few years, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. The all-rounder has been balancing the many facets of his life that are scattered all across the globe, almost seamlessly.

Shakib’s wife and kids live in the US where he visits every chance he gets. He has multiple business ventures in the country, he is the brand ambassador of numerous companies, he is constantly opening shops and inaugurating events, he is representing Bangladesh in all three formats and leading them in Tests and T20s and is also playing in franchise T20 leagues all across the world.

From a distance, Shakib’s life seems like a never-ending voyage, where he makes stops at places for a few days, and sometimes for mere hours, before once again carrying on with his journey.

Shakib Al Hasan during a national team training session in Sylhet on 18 March 2023
Shamsul Hoque

One day he is seen in Mirpur, trying to smash cricket balls out of the park, the next day he is signing on as a brand ambassador for yet another brand, the following day he is on a plane to the US to see his family, but while in the Dubai for a layover, he opens a shoe shop for kids.

Although this is a hypothetical scenario, it's not too far removed from reality.

Shakib’s hectic life, surprisingly, hasn’t affected his on-field performances. Whenever Shakib wears the Bangladesh emblem and takes the field, the all-rounder seems completely focused on the task at hand.

Like a fine wine, Shakib is only getting better with age. The all-rounder is trying to evolve with the changing demands of the game as he is seen giving extra emphasis on hitting big strokes. His bowling has remained as reliable as ever. His age hasn’t affected his fitness and he is still one of the best fielders in the team.

At 35 years of age, Shakib is nearing the end of his career. This, perhaps, is a reason why Shakib is taking part in so many off-the-field activities as he wants to cash in on his final years of cricket.

An athlete shouldn’t be blamed for trying to maximise his earnings in the final few years of his career as post-retirement the avenues of income are almost certain to dry up.

As long as Shakib can keep performing at the highest level for Bangladesh, the number of hats he is wearing at the same time should not be anyone else’s concern other than the man himself.