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Shakib will now travel to Chattogram on Friday to join the team. But with the Test match set to start in less than 48 hours and him just recovering from the infection, it’s not certain whether the all-rounder will feature in the match.

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The talk from the Bangladesh camp is that they are ready to compete and hopefully win against the Sri Lankan team in Chattogram, whether Shakib plays or not. But statistics show that the team, if anything, should be praying to have Shakib fit and available to play in Chattogram as his mere inclusion nearly doubles Bangladesh’s chances of winning.

The Test team with Shakib

Shakib made his debut in Test cricket against India in Chattogram in May of 2007. His debut proved to be auspicious for the Tigers as in that game Bangladesh secured its first ever draw against the Indians. Although more than Shakib, Bangladesh had rain to thank for that result, as the third day of the match was completely washed out.

In his near 15-year-long Test career, Shakib has represented Bangladesh in whites on 59 occasions. Out of those matches, Bangladesh has won 12, drew 10 and lost 37.

The majority of Shakib’s win in Tests have come against two countries– Zimbabwe and West Indies. Shakib has won five Test matches with Bangladesh against Zimbabwe and four against West Indies. Out of the four wins against the Caribbean side, two came in the away series in 2009, which Bangladesh won under Shakib’s leadership.

The other three wins have come against England, Australia and Sri Lanka. All three of these wins were milestone victories for the Tigers as they were Bangladesh’s maiden Test wins against these countries.

In all three Tests, Shakib played a big role in Bangladesh’s win. Against England, Shakib struck a crucial 41-run knock in the second innings and took four wickets in one session to help seal a 108-run win at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.

Against Sri Lanka, in Colombo, Shakib struck a brilliant 116 in the first innings and captured six wickets as Bangladesh attained a four-wicket win in their 100th Test match.

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Shakib saved his best for Australia, bamboozling the tourists in Mirpur with his spin to claim his second 10-wicket haul in Tests and scoring a crafty 84 in the first innings to catapult Bangladesh to a 20-run win. Shakib, rightfully, was awarded the player of the match award for this brilliant all-round performance.

Shakib-less Bangladesh

Since Shakib’s debut in the longest format of the game, Bangladesh has played 86 Tests, which means the 35-year-old has missed 27 Tests in his career. The reasons behind his absences are many, ranging from injuries, family issues, sabbaticals and to even a ban from the ICC.

In the 27 Tests the Tigers have played without Shakib since the maverick all-rounder’s debut, Bangladesh has won thrice, achieved a draw the same number of times and have ended up on the losing side 21 times.

Two of those wins came against Zimbabwe. The only notable win in Tests for Bangladesh without Shakib is the win against New Zealand which Mominul Haque’s men achieved earlier this year in Mount Maunganui.

With or without Shakib, defeats clearly outnumber wins and draws in Tests for Bangladesh. But Shakib’s presence makes a sizable difference in the outcomes. With Shakib in the team, Bangladesh either won or drew 31.29 per cent of their Test matches. But without the all-rounder, the number goes down to 22.22 per cent.

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Since 2007, Bangladesh has won one out of every five Tests in which Shakib has taken part. But when Shakib’s name is missing in the team sheet, Bangladesh’s chances of winning almost halves as without him they win one out of every nine Tests.

The Test win in January against New Zealand prompted many to think that the Bangladesh team can now not only survive but also thrive without Shakib Al Hasan. But the results in the following Test series in South Africa proved that notion false.

One doesn’t need to do a deep dive into stats to see that Shakib brings balance into the Test side and is still irreplaceable in the longest format for Bangladesh. But if someone is still not convinced of Shakib’s importance, the stats leave no room for doubt.

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