Shakib al Hasan is Bangladesh’s first cricket super star and for good reason as well. Shakib has been responsible for most of the victories that the minnows of world cricket have managed so far and hence it was not a surprise when he became a part of the IPL on the back of his performances both with the bat and the ball. Shakib has grown in stature over the years and along with Tamim Iqbal, he is one of the two players in the Bangladesh cricket team who can well and truly be called world class.
It was in 2011 that he made his debut in the IPL for the Kolkata Knight Riders and along with the likes of Iqbal Abdulla and Sunil Narine, he forms a deadly troika of spinners, which can throttle any batting line up on a helpful pitch. Although he has not been given as many chances as he would have liked due to the limit that has been placed on the number of overseas players in the starting eleven, he has tried to make it count whenever he has been given an opportunity. In fact the boundary he hit off Ben Hilfenhaus in the final of IPL 2012 is often regarded as a stroke that decisively turned the game in favor of the KKR.
He is one of the leading all-rounders in the world and hence it is obvious that he has to contribute with both the bat and the ball whenever he is picked in the side. As a left arm orthodox spinner, Shakib has all the varieties such a bowler needs to have to be effective including the arm ball and the quicker one which skids through from a good length. His expertise as a bowler has made it possible for Gautam Gambhir, the KKR captain to use him as a joker in his pack of bowlers and hence Shakib has not only opened the bowling for his team but also bowled at the death. On the other hand, as a batsman he usually bats in the lower middle order and his role is that of a clinical slogger towards the end of the innings.
After his fine shows for Bangladesh over the 2010-11cricket season, it was no wonder that Shakib was hot property. The KKR had to beat stiff competition from some of the other franchises to finally land him for an amount of $425,000- an amount more than double of his base price of $200,000.
Shakib has played for the KKR in the 2011 and 2012 seasons of the IPL and it was during the title winning season that the all rounder delivered his best performance till date. On a perennial slow turner at the Eden Gardens he picked up 3/17 against the Rajasthan Royals to restrict them to 131 and it was in that same season he scored a crucial 42 in a total of 136 against the Pune Warriors to set up the game for his team. The KKR won both the games and both those performances earned him the Man of the Match award.
As a bowler Shakib al Hasan is one of the most miserly spin bowlers in the IPL. Over the past 2 seasons his economy rate has never touched the 7 runs an over mark, which goes to show the sort of value he adds to a bowling unit. Additionally, he has opened the bowling quite often for the KKR as well and it is indeed a commendable achievement to have an overall economy rate of 6.66 under those circumstances. Added to that is the sensational strike rate of 14.47 which means he takes at least 2 wickets in every game. In the limited opportunities he has had as a batsman, he has given a good account of himself and hence any captain would be happy with a lower order batsman who strikes at 125 per 100 balls and scores an average of 15 runs in every game.
Did you know?
Bangladesh opening batsman Tamim Iqbal is his best friend and the two have even bought apartments in the same building in Dhaka. It was in December last year that Shakib got married to Umme Ahmed- an American girl of Bangladeshi descent.
By Soham Samaddar