Bangladesh cricket July 7, 2014

Shakib puts on brave face after suspension

Shakib Al Hasan trained with his team-mates as the BCB directors held their meeting in Mirpur, unaware of the massive punishment he was about to be hit with

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At 2.25 pm on Monday afternoon, Shakib Al Hasan came to the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur and met the BCB president Nazmul Hasan to give a final explanation of his side of the events, after which he went to the dressing room to join his Bangladesh team-mates for training.

He was probably oblivious of what would transpire in the BCB conference room during the next couple of hours, as the board members decided to suspend the allrounder for six months, cancel his existing NOCs and not issue any new ones until the end of 2015.

Shakib was seen walking with Abdur Razzak from the dressing room to the adjacent National Cricket Academy ground eating a banana and chatting with his team-mates. He then hit the gym, ran a bit and a couple of hours later, stood outside the dressing room again, perhaps waiting for the verdict. When he received the phone call conveying the news, Shakib apparently looked despondent. Later, someone close to him described him as being "devastated" and "numb".

As reporters gathered near one of the entrances to the corridor that led to the dressing room, two guards stood outside to ensure no one went too far. The wait continued, and soon, many Bangladesh players walked out after their training had ended.

The captain Mushfiqur Rahim exited several minutes later, followed by Mahmudullah, Razzak, Sohag Gazi and the rest. They left the stadium soon after, but Mashrafe Mortaza stayed behind. The BCB's media manager Rabeed Imam then entered the dressing room, and came out 30 minutes later to tell the remaining journalists that Shakib would not be speaking to them.

Later, it emerged that Shakib had wanted to sit in the dressing room on his own. He had turned off his mobile phone, but spoke normally to whoever was near him. The overriding reaction of those who had seen him was that there was shock written all over Shakib's face.

Mortaza came out a bit later, saying Shakib was trying to take the decision in his stride, but it was too soon not to feel bad for him. "This is not the time to talk to him about this," he said.

Finally, Shakib emerged just as the sun had set. The time for Iftaar was nearing, and he walked out of the premises with Rabeed Imam. He would not speak to the media, but put on a brave face and smiled. He walked to his car, and when a TV reporter asked him to at least say "no comment", Shakib simply said "Khoda Hafez" (goodbye).

The road ahead of Shakib leads into unfamiliar territory. It is unclear whether he will appeal the BCB's decision, whether he had decided not to speak to the media, or whether the BCB had asked him not to. However, he did send out a series of tweets on Tuesday afternoon, thanking his fans for support and proclaiming his commitment to Bangladesh*.

With so many unanswered questions, only time will tell how strongly the BCB sticks to its decision, and how Shakib recovers from this setback.

*The story was updated with Shakib Al Hasan's tweet from Tuesday

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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