Image courtesy of: Cricket West Indies
Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan could find himself in hot water with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) after revealing that he is only “20-30 percent fit” ahead of the Asia Cup.
Shakib made the shocking revelation during an interview with The Daily Star, but the BCB admitted they have been put in an “awkward and embarrassing” position as they had no clue about it.
Shakib sustained a finger injury in the final of the T20 tri-series against Sri Lanka in January. He then missed the Twenty20 and Test series against Sri Lanka.
However, he returned during the Nidahas Trophy in March and also captained Bangladesh during their tour of the West Indies in June to August, where they lost the Test series 2-0 before bouncing back to securing a 2-1 win in both the ODI and Twenty20 series.
Following the tour of the West Indies, Shakib revealed that he needed to have his finger surgically repaired.
“I have to do a surgery. So the discussion now is about when to do it. I want it to happen as soon as possible. It will most probably be before the Asia Cup,” he said.
Shakib was included in Bangladesh’s Asia Cup squad, but during his interview with The Daily Star, he stunned the BCB be announcing he was nowhere near to being fully fit.
“I am 20-30 percent fit right now. I still have pain in my hand, so honestly, I don’t know how I would bat or bowl. I am out of practice for some time so I have no idea,” he told the newspaper as quoted by the International Cricket Council’s website.
BCB director Jalal Yunus said the board was shocked by Shakib’s revelation as he “didn’t tell us when the selection was being finalised, or at any other time. It would have been better if he had told us that he was 20-30% fit earlier. He didn’t say that he can’t play.”
However, Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes feels that Shakib is fitter than he claims to be.
“I don’t believe he is 20-30 percent fit. I think he is a lot fitter than that. That sort of statement has hit the headline,” he said. “I am pretty sure Shakib is a lot fitter than that. He is in no real different state to the state in West Indies, where he played some fantastic cricket with bat, ball and in the field.
“Everybody knows that he does need the operation. He has made that decision after speaking to the BCB president. Asia Cup is very important to Bangladesh. Even if Shakib was 60-70% fit, you’d get a lot of cricket out of Shakib Al Hasan.”
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza is confident that Shakib will feature in the Asia Cup, saying: “Since he played in the West Indies, I am sure he’d know his exact situation. His performance was very useful for winning there. I think it is more than enough if his fitness is at that level. But we can’t do anything about it. He took the decision and since he will play, I am sure he will give his 100 percent.”
Mortaza may be optimistic, but while the entire Bangladesh squad is preparing for the Asia Cup in a preliminary camp in Dhaka, Shakib has taken some time off and is in the United States with his family.
When asked about this, Rhodes said: “It doesn’t make an impact on the rest of the team. Shakib is really, really respected by the rest of his colleagues in the dressing room.
“The time-off with family, I think it is important that everybody realises that Shakib plays a lot of cricket. He doesn’t just bat. He bowls and fields and captains as well. He plays all formats.
“In making sure Shakib is playing at his best and freshest, we can give him opportunities to be with his family. It will make him a better player. He has done all the practice when he was younger. He did it out in the middle, bowling 50 overs every innings in Tests. It is not too necessary that he practices all the time. He showed in the Caribbean without much practice what a quality cricketer he can be.”