DHAKA, Nov 23, 2020 (BSS)—Ending a year long hiatus, ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan finally returns to competitive cricket tomorrow (Tuesday) with the match between Gemcon Khulna and Fortune Barishal in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Gemcon Khulna recruited him in the players’ draft of the tournament, paving his way to return to the cricket, from which he banned by the International Cricket Council due to his failure to report the corrupt approaches of the bookies.
He was free to play any kind of cricket after his ban was lifted on October 28. But since no tournament was held in Bangladesh, he had to wait almost one month to start playing.
Shakib however had completed a four-week training camp with his mentors Mohammad Salahuddin and Nazmul Abedeen Fahim at the BKSP in September. The training was conducted mostly behind the closed doors.
He mainly did the training camp as he was slated to play the second Test of Bangladesh’s tour in Sri Lanka. The series eventually got postponed and Shakib left the country for the USA, cancelling his training.
Shakib didn’t let people know what kind of training he did behind the closed door in BKSP but it is learnt he took the help from BKSP athletics coach Abdullah Hel Kafi and young boxing coach Ariful Karim in a bid to keep his fitness level in right shape.
Right after his ban was lifted, he interacted with the media through his youtube channel, in which he expected that his teammates will keep faith on him after he returns to cricket.
He later got a death threat for visiting a Puja Mandap in Kolkata. He however apologized for that despite claiming that he didn’t inaugurate the puja. Police later arrested the person who threatened to kill him through a facebook live.
Amid those incidents, his practice to return to cricket was going on and it looks he is fully ready to play. However, his teammates are elated at the return of Shakib at the cricket ground.
“Shakib’s return to cricket is a big incident. Not only me, the whole cricket world is waiting to see him in action,” country’s senior cricketer Mushfiqur Rahim said here today.
“He is the No. 1 player and all-rounder. I hope he won’t play well against our Beximco Dhaka. But I hope he will play well against other sides. However it’s a great thing to get Shakib on the field again.”
Terming Shakib’s return to the cricket as a big thing for Bangladesh cricket, Tamim Iqbal said, “It’s a great day for Shakib because he was out of action for one year. It’s an important day for Bangladesh cricket also as he is returning to cricket. I am sure his fans are keenly waiting to see him in action.” he added.
Tamim’s side Fortune Barishal however will take on Gemcon Khulna in which Shakib is playing.
“We will try to lessen his impact in the game. But at the end of the day, I am happy that he is returning to cricket. And I am sure he will go strength to strength from tomorrow.”
Shakib’s captain Mahmudullah Riyad in the Gemcon Khulna said he doesn’t see any rust in Shakib and expected him to perform brilliantly from the first match.
“There is no doubt about his caliber and capability. I believe he will come all guns blazing from the first match. He seems to be very desperate to play good cricket,” Mahmudullah remarked.