Shakib to miss finale


Ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will miss the final of Bangabandhu T20 Cup as he left the country yesterday for the USA to be with his ailing father-in-law.

Shakib Al Hasan was playing for Gemcon Khulna which beat tournament’s most consistent side Gazi Group Chattogram in the first Qualifier to seal the final in first attempt.

The all-rounder scored 28 runs and took a wicket for Gemcon Khulna in that match and indicated to hit back in the form, following his poor form throughout the group stage.

Khulna manager Nafees Iqbal said that they respect Shakib’s decision to leave the team to be with family.

“Shakib had to leave yesterday as his father-in-law has been sick for quite a long time, and yesterday he came to know that he is critically ill. He left the hotel last night and today is his flight,” Nafees Iqbal, the Gemcon Khulna manager, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“He only got to know yesterday that his father-in-law is in a critical condition and shared with me. We do believe family always comes first and Gemcon Khulna always gives preference to this. So we had no issue in letting him leave.”

Shakib al Hasan’s comeback to competitive cricket following his one-year ban has ended abruptly and he will miss the final of the ongoing Bangabandhu T20 Cup to be with his in-laws in the USA.

With the West Indies expected to come to Bangladesh for a tour in January, the focus was on Shakib’s performance ahead of the domestic T20 tournament and the all-rounder failed to impress, especially with the bat, as he completed nine matches without coming up with any       standout performance. Shakib bowled economically, conceding only 204 runs in 34 overs - an economy rate of 6.00 and picking up six wickets - but his contributions with the bat were below-par. He scored 110 runs in nine innings, averaging 12.22 with a strike rate of 120.87.

Through the tournament, he has struggled against pace and spin alike, and on six occasions, been dismissed while attempting to clear the ropes. 

“I don't think there is any problem with hand-eye coordination,” Nazmul Abedin, his childhood mentor, told agencies.

“I think it’s a technical problem. He couldn’t generate the bat speed that was required to play the shots to clear the rope. So we have work on this aspect,” he said. “I think he played well on the ground but whenever he tried to play in the air, he was in trouble.

“We have seen that he was under pressure when he went for big-hitting. Even in the last match, he skied one or two balls when he went for the big shots and probably there is some work to do in that area. He needs to be at that point where he is comfortable and confident and I am sure he is yet to come to that stage but he will definitely come.”

More than the issues with his bat swing, the coach is bothered about the dented confidence. “He also tried to bat at different places, probably wanted to see where he fits in well. He needed to stay at the wicket for longer periods of time as it would have helped him bring back his confidence. I think his confidence is slightly dented due to his performance in the tournament,” he said.

Shakib resumed cricketing activities from September 5 at the BKSP institute as he was eyeing a comeback to international cricket with his ICC ban set to come to an end with the tour of Sri Lanka. However, the training camp that was run under the eyes of two of his childhood coaches, Nazmul Abedin and Mohammad Salauddin, ended abruptly after the Sri Lanka tour was cancelled.

Despite an unimpressive showing in the T20 tournament, Nazmul isn’t too worried. “I am sure he will play well in Test and ODIs as our preparation was largely involved about his playing Test matches and we designed the preparation program accordingly. It would have been ideal if he had played longer version as that would have allowed him to take his time in the middle,” he pointed out.