A big thing will dominate the headlines in the Bangladesh cricket fraternity Tuesday, the return of prodigal son Shakib to competitive cricket
The Covid-19 pandemic halted all sorts of cricket activities in Bangladesh in mid-March this year.
Cricket returned through the three-team BCB President’s Cup in October.
Now the game will be advertised in a much bigger way through the Bangabandhu T20 Cup where all the best players of the country will fight it out for the prestigious trophy.
While cricket is gradually resuming in the country, another big thing will dominate the headlines in the Bangladesh cricket fraternity Tuesday, the return of prodigal son Shakib al Hasan to competitive cricket.
Shakib, who was banned by the ICC in October last year, has worked hard in recent months to get back to full fitness.
But, off the field he seems to be at the center of controversies.
The day he arrived here from his US residence, he joined a crowded opening ceremony of a shop, creating uproar in social media as many believed the ace all-rounder breached health safety rules during the pandemic.
The controversy got even more traction when he visited a program in Kolkata as a guest.
Many claimed he opened a puja festival and millions of fans boycotted him on social media, alleging he demeaned Islam by joining a Hindu festival despite being a Muslim.
Shakib later apologized through his social media channels.
But in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup players’ draft, Gemcon Khulna picked Shakib in their first opportunity, clearly stating they have enough faith on the cricketing abilities of the southpaw.
Khulna will face off against Fortune Barishal in their tournament opener at Mirpur’s Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium at 6:30pm.
Even opposition captain Tamim Iqbal admitted the importance of Shakib’s return on the eve of the tournament opener.
“I am sure it will be a big day for him (Shakib), because he is returning to the field after almost one year. It will be a big day for Bangladesh cricket as well because a player of Shakib’scalibre is returning to cricket. I am pretty sure his fans are eagerly waiting for him,” Tamim said to the media during a practice session Monday.
Khulna skipper Mahmudullah, who is also the captain of the Bangladesh T20I side, praised Shakib and believes Shakib’s impact will be massive as the all-rounder is crucial in both bowling and batting in any team he plays.
“Feeling good [on Shakib’s return]. We all know the importance of Shakib as a player, whether in international matches or in domestic games. All of us are happy that he is returning to cricket and we are more pleased that he is playing in our team,” Mahmudullah said.
Khulna sent out a strong statement in the draft.
Along with Shakib and Mahmudullah, Khulna have a bunch of experienced performers and young promising prospects from the domestic arena.
The presence of majestic all-rounders like Shakib and Mahmudullah saw Khulna being given the tag of pre-tournament favourite, but skipper Mahmudullah is rather focusing on team performance and clinical show on the field from their very first game.
“On paper, our team seem to have the strongest squad. But I always believe that performance in the field is the most important thing. It does not matter how big a player you are, you have to perform in the field and prove yourself,” Mahmudulllah said.
Talking about performance, Shakib always showed he does his best when his back is against the wall, like a true champion, and the stage is all set for one of the finest all-rounders in the world to show his cricketing skill and determination that made him the world-beater he is.
It’s time for Shakib to get involved in competitive game time and create headlines again with his performance with bat and ball, rather than recent off-field controversies.