Shakib Al Hasan February 6, 2009

From Magura to No. 1

The world's top-ranked allrounder is a Bangladeshi who has oodles of self-belief to go with his undoubted talent
25


Shakib picks up yet another match award © AFP
 

It's one of cricket's ironies that one of its best allrounders of the moment might have been lost to football instead, but for several turns of fate. Like every other boy in the provincial town of Magura, 170 miles from Dhaka, Shakib al Hasan was a regular on the playing field whenever he got a chance but the big draw was always football. His father had played the game for Khulna Division and a cousin had gone on to represent Bangladesh, so football more or less ran in the family.

Cricket was on the sporting curriculum though, and the fashion among the youth was "tape-tennis" cricket. Shakib was fairly proficient and was often "hired" to play for different villages. One such game changed his life.

A local umpire called Saddam Hossain was impressed by the kid's prowess and called him to practise with the Islampur Para Club, one of the teams in the Magura Cricket League. Shakib turned up and, as was his wont, batted aggressively and bowled fast. That was what he knew best. Then, suddenly, inexplicably, he began bowling spin - and had the batsmen totally flummoxed.

He made the cut for the Islampur team and picked up a wicket with the first ball on his Magura Cricket League debut - his first-ever delivery with a proper cricket ball.

It could sound a bit too pat but Shakib's journey from Magura to the top of the ICC rankings for allrounders - the first Bangladesh player ever to top any ICC ranking - hasn't happened overnight, nor has it been the result of any one dramatic or magical moment. It's been a long journey, with its share of ups and downs, happiness and sorrow, laughter and tears, since he first held a bat eight-odd years ago.

Shakib's eyes drift away as he narrates his story, building up a tapestry of images and defining moments. Throughout, there is surprise that a boy who didn't play a proper game of cricket till he was in his teens could be the world's top allrounder.

The talent-scouting camp at Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishtan (BKSP) comes first to his mind. His ability had been noticed at a one-month camp in Narail before he was chosen for the six-month training course at BKSP. He remembers his father warning him about neglecting his studies, as well as the persuasive tactics of the BKSP coach, "Bappi sir" (Ashraful Islam Bappi). "Uncle, let him go. He has a future in cricket," Bappi pleaded with Shakib's father.

Life at the BKSP camp was good, with Shakib managing to enroll himself in class eight under special consideration. His skills with bat and ball helped him overcome the adversities of a new environment.

His next break came when he was called up in the absence of one of the regulars in a domestic Under-15 fixture. His century off 52 balls was enough to earn him a place in the national U-15 team, followed by, with metronomic frequency, steps up to the U-17, U-19 and Bangladesh A levels, and then to the national team.

And then one day last month he got a phone call from a journalist. "You are the world's No. 1 allrounder, according to the one-day rankings published today. Can I have your reactions?"

What could he possibly say? Such emotions cannot be put in words. From the day he seriously took up cricket, this had been his dream: of reaching the top - not just himself as a player but his team as well. His job was only half done, but it was a great leap forward.

You can imagine Shakib talking to the journalist - "I'm just so happy. My dream's come true, etc etc," he would have warbled in a quivering voice. But if you thought that, you really don't know Shakib very well.

Of course he was delighted, and said as much, before adding: "What reactions do I have? Well, it hasn't quite sunk in. Can I think on it through the night and let you know tomorrow?"

It's this quality, of not getting carried away, of being in control of his emotions, that made him stand out among the other boys at BKSP, a trait noticed by the coach Nazmul Abedin Fahim as well. "A lot of people say that Shakib has little emotion, but he is quite an emotional lad. He just possesses this remarkable ability to control his emotions."

Fahim remembers the day he first recognised Shakib's immense talent as a cricketer. Fahim was in charge of the Bangladesh U-15 team touring India. The first match, against the Bengal U-15s, in the industrial town of at Kalyani, was played on a brand new pitch. The tourists lost early wickets but Shakib stuck around to score a match-winning 69. It became a habit on the tour - early dismissals followed by a rescue act by Shakib.

 
 
Shakib has repeatedly been asked one particular question at press conferences: "Are you a batting allrounder or a bowling allrounder?" The reply is part laconic, part genuine uncertainty: "I am a cricketer
 

Fahim was also in charge of the Bangladesh team - of which Shakib was a member - at the U-17 Asia Cup in India in 2004. Those around at the time recall vividly the occasion when, asked by a journalist to name the team's best bowler, batsman and fielder, Fahim replied "Shakib" to all three.

Theirs was a long-standing relationship. Fahim, a veteran coach at BKSP, had mentored several generations of Bangladeshi cricketers but he always believed Shakib was in a different class. "He may not be the most technically gifted of the many students I taught. But he's the best when one considers the total package. At cricket's topmost level the game is played more in the mind, and from the mental perspective he is way above everyone," says Fahim.

Habibul Bashar, who was the Bangladesh captain when Shakib made his international debut on the 2006 tour of Zimbabwe, seconds Fahim. "He [Shakib] is mentally very tough and he can deal with success very simply as well. This is why he is so consistent," says Bashar.

It's not just about dealing with success and failure on the field; Shakib has a very simplistic view on matters away from the game as well. "I don't brood over issues. The more you think about it, the more complex it becomes. I want to keep everything simple. And I don't mean just the game. Matters off the field may not be within my control as well, so why lose sleep over things you can't control? What I can do is to give my best every time."

Backing up his clear understanding of what he can do is a firm belief in the ability to do so. Together they set him apart from the other players in the team. "His biggest strength as a cricketer lies in backing his own ability. Criticism and analyses have never stopped him from playing his own game," says Fahim.

Maybe it's "a high degree of self-belief" as the current Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful says. "Though he [Shakib] doesn't bowl too much at practice, he always delivers during a match. Now that's only possible if you have tremendous belief in yourself."

More than the self-belief, perhaps, is Shakib's resolve to be the best. "Whenever anyone outperforms me, whether in academics or sport, I tell myself that if he could do it, so can I. Whenever someone from the team is adjudged Man of the Match, I feel the honour could have been mine as well, It's not jealousy - my team-mates' success obviously gives me a lot of joy - but one basic question: 'If he could, why couldn't I?'"

So he's got the self-confidence and the determination. What more do you need for success? Hard work? Shakib will definitely work as hard as he can. But Mohammad Salauddin, his bowling and mental-strength guru - another teacher from his BKSP days, and the current Bangladesh assistant coach - doesn't consider hard work a key element in Shakib's success. "I wouldn't call Shakib a hard worker. His biggest talent is that he picks up things very easily. He has a very logical brain."

Salauddin remembers an incident from Bangladesh's tour of South Africa last November. "On the first day of the first Test, at Bloemfontein, Shakib didn't get a single wicket. I told him to flight the ball but he was apprehensive, thinking he'd get hit all over the park.

"But I know him. So the next day, in the bus on the way to the stadium, I started reading a chapter on flight in spin bowling. He asked me what I was reading. I told him it was just some points on the usefulness of flight in spin bowling.

"Shakib immediately picked up what I was trying to say. That morning he gave the ball air and flight and got his wickets." After ending the first day with no wickets from 25 overs, his day two figures read: 13 overs, 35 runs and five wickets."

That spell sums up Shakib's bowling over the past four months - the best of his career, the most successful and, at times, magical. It was also a bit of a surprise. He began his one-day career as a No. 4 batsman, and in his 60 innings till date, he has batted lower than five on only a handful of occasions. In Tests he has batted mostly at No. 7, but all along, he was always known as a batting allrounder. That was till the home series against New Zealand in October last year.


Start as you mean to go on: Shakib gets the first of his seven wickets in the first innings against New Zealand in Chittagong last year © AFP
 

Just before that two-Test series, Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons suddenly announced that Shakib would be playing as a specialist spinner - and that's the role he has been fulfilling since then. In the first innings of the first Test, in Chittagong, he picked up 7 for 37, the best bowling figures by any Bangladeshi player in Tests. That was the appetiser; the main course came on the tour of South Africa.

His five- and six-wicket hauls in the two Tests against South Africa were a significant milestone, considering greats like Shane Warne and Anil Kumble had failed to do as much against those opponents, and even Muttiah Muralitharan achieved it just the once. Shakib's performance drew the praise of former Australian legspinner Kerry O'Keefe, who said he was the "world's best finger spinner at the moment".

Another five-for followed in the next Test, at home against Sri Lanka, which gave him five or more wickets in an innings in three successive Tests, an accomplishment Bangladesh's old spin spearhead Mohammad Rafique would have been proud of.

Those recent successes - and, no doubt, his ascent to the top of ICC rankings - have led to his being repeatedly asked one particular question at press conferences: "Are you a batting allrounder or a bowling allrounder?" The reply is part laconic, part genuine uncertainty: "I am a cricketer."

Asked where he sees himself at the end of his career, he replies: "I never go by records, statistics and rankings. I believe one must take into account all aspects of the game. I want the world to remember me as proficient in all three categories - batting, bowling and fielding. Bowlers will think twice when I bat, similarly batsmen will be wary of my skills with the ball, and they will hesitate to take runs when the ball comes my way on the field."

The realisation of his dream will no doubt require Shakib to keep his feet firmly on the ground despite all the adulation and acclaim. Will he be able to? He breaks into a wry smile. "Cricket is not just my profession, it's the only way I can realise my other dreams. If I shine, everything will fall into place - the ranking will be good, the rewards will flow in."

Self-satisfaction does not feature in Shakib's dictionary, though he is proud to be officially acknowledged as among the world's best. It is not just the personal achievement that is important to him but proving that someone from Bangladesh can become the world's top performer. The sky's the limit, Shakib al Hasan says, and he's started his journey.

Utpal Shuvro is the sports editor at Dhaka daily Prothom Alo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sabbir13 on February 8, 2009, 20:53 GMT

    it was my dream that someday one of us will be the top. shakib shows the way to win the most amazing title of cricket- A PERFECT CRICKETER.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on February 7, 2009, 21:37 GMT

    Shakib is a mighty cricketer. His superb temperament suggests he could also make a good captain, relieving Ashraful of the burden and allowing him to concentrate on his batting. In Shakib, Ashraful and Mortaza Bangladesh have a core of class cricketers who should be encouraged by their coach to lead the others and turn them into a competitive outfit.

  • GrantW on February 7, 2009, 11:47 GMT

    I can't believe Shakib didn't get picked up by any of the IPL teams. I noticed his talent a few years ago and thought he was destined to be an excellent player. Not just an excellent player for Bangladesh, but one who would be recognised as a genuine quality player throughout the rest of the cricket world. I can't help think the the IPL clubs have missed an excellent opportunity in not signing him. His bowling is economical and he has the ability to score run quite quickly. On a broader note, I'm a bit disappointed not only Shakib, but Mohammad Ashraful didn't get picked up either. I think it would have given both these players much confidence and experience to take back to the Bangladeshi team. I know it's not the IPL's raison d'ĂȘtre to try and foster the growth of the game, but ultimately it is to the detriment of the game if Bangladesh aren't performing competitively.

  • WikiCrick on February 7, 2009, 7:41 GMT

    Interesting article. However, I'd have liked the article to dwell on Shakib's ODI exploits rather than his test exploits given that he is the ODI no.1 all-rounder. Again, he'd make more impact in ODIs rather than the tests in terms of results given the weaknesses of Bangladesh team in the Test arena. As far as IPL is concerned, I am sure that he is going to be picked as a replacement player to one of the Pakistani players - I guess Deccan Chargers would do well to have him in the place of Afridi. I do hope that other franchises would also fight for him and that he gets way more than his base price. Is his agent listening?

  • virtualshah on February 7, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    IPL Gimmick. Sakib Gone unnoticed in IPL Auction !!! 'cause something hyperbolic stuffs are going on to manage some players to thwart ICL . You will see Sakib's will be tagged US$10M as soon as he receives a lucrative offer from ICL .

  • SomeoneStoleMyLungi on February 7, 2009, 2:20 GMT

    Well done again Shakib. I have already posted something long but I believe at the rate you are going you can be in the World XI. Dont get too easy about being no 1 allrounder. Maintain your spot for as long as you can. You are a fresh Bangladeshi cricketer that can play for another 15 years. In between that you can become a legend, set many records, go into the hall of fame,claim the best figures,have the best stats in the world, make the most runs in the world by passing Sachin Tendulkars runs, make the most runs in an innings, have the best averages for batting and bowling, best fieldsman in history overall, if you can get to captain you have the potential of guiding Bangladesh to the most percentages of wins in history and make the most centuries in history. I believe you are fit to take the role of captancy. YOu have that brain that the legendary captains have like Allan Border etc. In the future i believe you have the strength to achieve these feats. Keep it up!

  • SomeoneStoleMyLungi on February 7, 2009, 2:00 GMT

    Congratulations Shakib. You are the best all rounder in the world. You have only played 2 years of cricket and you still have a long way ahead of you. Keep moving forward and always try your best in any situation. I feel proud for you. Even though Bangladesh are the underdogs of today you can change that and become the champions of cricket tommorow. Im not under estimating the team what im trying to say is that if you work harder and practice the key elements of the game you can be the Bangladesh team that no one in cricketing history will never forget just like the Invivcibles. You have a bunch of gifted cricketers. At the moment I believe you are the best cricketer in Bangladesh. Keep that record for as long as you can. Even though I am an Australian-Bangladeshi i always and always will support Bangladesh. Well done Shakib! You will always be my favourite cricketer. I will always watch you play. Good luck in the coming matches. You are still young and you can become a legend!!!

  • MaksoodChaiwalla on February 7, 2009, 0:24 GMT

    Sakib al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim are the two most improved players in the current Bangladesh setup. It is for the other nine to try and match atleast half of Sakib's & Rahim's efforts and I am sure Bangladesh would taste success frequently at the top level.

  • Rezaul on February 6, 2009, 23:11 GMT

    Excellent achievements were depicted in a delicate column. Thanks Shakib for bringing success to your nation. No doubt next IPL auction will be all about pierce battle for Shakib! But for now, keep playing your own game. You are the charm of the cricket. We love to see more and more success from you and end up with a true successful legend. Cheers!

  • nafzak on February 6, 2009, 22:40 GMT

    No doubt Shakib is bangladesh most consistent and best cricketer right now. You could see this coming a couple of months ago. Bangladesh has a lot of talent and a young team. If only their top batsmen could be more level headed. It seems as if they are always playing as if it's a 50 over match and they need to score 4 or more an over. Unecessary risks and shots are their trademark, especially M. Ashraful. They also need a couple of really quick and intimidating bowlers. Unfortunately, they don't grow 'em too big in B/desh. I still think thatthey'll be a very competitive team in Test matches in the very near future (1 or 2 years).

  • sabbir13 on February 8, 2009, 20:53 GMT

    it was my dream that someday one of us will be the top. shakib shows the way to win the most amazing title of cricket- A PERFECT CRICKETER.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on February 7, 2009, 21:37 GMT

    Shakib is a mighty cricketer. His superb temperament suggests he could also make a good captain, relieving Ashraful of the burden and allowing him to concentrate on his batting. In Shakib, Ashraful and Mortaza Bangladesh have a core of class cricketers who should be encouraged by their coach to lead the others and turn them into a competitive outfit.

  • GrantW on February 7, 2009, 11:47 GMT

    I can't believe Shakib didn't get picked up by any of the IPL teams. I noticed his talent a few years ago and thought he was destined to be an excellent player. Not just an excellent player for Bangladesh, but one who would be recognised as a genuine quality player throughout the rest of the cricket world. I can't help think the the IPL clubs have missed an excellent opportunity in not signing him. His bowling is economical and he has the ability to score run quite quickly. On a broader note, I'm a bit disappointed not only Shakib, but Mohammad Ashraful didn't get picked up either. I think it would have given both these players much confidence and experience to take back to the Bangladeshi team. I know it's not the IPL's raison d'ĂȘtre to try and foster the growth of the game, but ultimately it is to the detriment of the game if Bangladesh aren't performing competitively.

  • WikiCrick on February 7, 2009, 7:41 GMT

    Interesting article. However, I'd have liked the article to dwell on Shakib's ODI exploits rather than his test exploits given that he is the ODI no.1 all-rounder. Again, he'd make more impact in ODIs rather than the tests in terms of results given the weaknesses of Bangladesh team in the Test arena. As far as IPL is concerned, I am sure that he is going to be picked as a replacement player to one of the Pakistani players - I guess Deccan Chargers would do well to have him in the place of Afridi. I do hope that other franchises would also fight for him and that he gets way more than his base price. Is his agent listening?

  • virtualshah on February 7, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    IPL Gimmick. Sakib Gone unnoticed in IPL Auction !!! 'cause something hyperbolic stuffs are going on to manage some players to thwart ICL . You will see Sakib's will be tagged US$10M as soon as he receives a lucrative offer from ICL .

  • SomeoneStoleMyLungi on February 7, 2009, 2:20 GMT

    Well done again Shakib. I have already posted something long but I believe at the rate you are going you can be in the World XI. Dont get too easy about being no 1 allrounder. Maintain your spot for as long as you can. You are a fresh Bangladeshi cricketer that can play for another 15 years. In between that you can become a legend, set many records, go into the hall of fame,claim the best figures,have the best stats in the world, make the most runs in the world by passing Sachin Tendulkars runs, make the most runs in an innings, have the best averages for batting and bowling, best fieldsman in history overall, if you can get to captain you have the potential of guiding Bangladesh to the most percentages of wins in history and make the most centuries in history. I believe you are fit to take the role of captancy. YOu have that brain that the legendary captains have like Allan Border etc. In the future i believe you have the strength to achieve these feats. Keep it up!

  • SomeoneStoleMyLungi on February 7, 2009, 2:00 GMT

    Congratulations Shakib. You are the best all rounder in the world. You have only played 2 years of cricket and you still have a long way ahead of you. Keep moving forward and always try your best in any situation. I feel proud for you. Even though Bangladesh are the underdogs of today you can change that and become the champions of cricket tommorow. Im not under estimating the team what im trying to say is that if you work harder and practice the key elements of the game you can be the Bangladesh team that no one in cricketing history will never forget just like the Invivcibles. You have a bunch of gifted cricketers. At the moment I believe you are the best cricketer in Bangladesh. Keep that record for as long as you can. Even though I am an Australian-Bangladeshi i always and always will support Bangladesh. Well done Shakib! You will always be my favourite cricketer. I will always watch you play. Good luck in the coming matches. You are still young and you can become a legend!!!

  • MaksoodChaiwalla on February 7, 2009, 0:24 GMT

    Sakib al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim are the two most improved players in the current Bangladesh setup. It is for the other nine to try and match atleast half of Sakib's & Rahim's efforts and I am sure Bangladesh would taste success frequently at the top level.

  • Rezaul on February 6, 2009, 23:11 GMT

    Excellent achievements were depicted in a delicate column. Thanks Shakib for bringing success to your nation. No doubt next IPL auction will be all about pierce battle for Shakib! But for now, keep playing your own game. You are the charm of the cricket. We love to see more and more success from you and end up with a true successful legend. Cheers!

  • nafzak on February 6, 2009, 22:40 GMT

    No doubt Shakib is bangladesh most consistent and best cricketer right now. You could see this coming a couple of months ago. Bangladesh has a lot of talent and a young team. If only their top batsmen could be more level headed. It seems as if they are always playing as if it's a 50 over match and they need to score 4 or more an over. Unecessary risks and shots are their trademark, especially M. Ashraful. They also need a couple of really quick and intimidating bowlers. Unfortunately, they don't grow 'em too big in B/desh. I still think thatthey'll be a very competitive team in Test matches in the very near future (1 or 2 years).

  • India_will_win on February 6, 2009, 18:26 GMT

    Well done Shakib! Legend has it that a lot of top teams today owe success in their initial years to Left arm spinners cum allrounders. Most noteably India, remember Vinoo Mankad's legendery feats with bat and ball in 40s and 50s when he was by far the best allrounder in the world. Bangladesh is fortunate that after the retirement of Mohammad Rafique, another very good allrounder they found you! You have many records to break. Just keep playing well. Had you been playing for any other country but Bangladesh you would have been treated as a superstar but don't let this affect your performance. It's a shame that you remain unsold at the IPL auction but talented players like you don't need to be approved by IPL circus. We, the fans of you across the world would like to see you reach greater and glorius heights in the years to come. At this moment you are number 1 allrounder in the world so enjoy this and savor the moment for you have made your country proud.

  • Rehar on February 6, 2009, 18:21 GMT

    very nice article n he iz turly a great player hope he keeps it up...n im conffused y the best Allrounder in the WORLD is not in the IPL:S...mayb he is 2 good 4 it:D...hope the best for him n bangladesh. Cricinfo is the besttt loolzz

  • Nipun on February 6, 2009, 17:59 GMT

    The world's no.1 ODI allrounder & 6th in ODI bowlers' rankings is ignored,whereas a guy named Henderson is bought for $ 650,000.I mean,nobody knows who this guy is,which country he comes from,is he a batsman or a bowler,& he is bought for $ 650,000.!!!.This IPL auction was a farce in the name of cricket.

  • Skids on February 6, 2009, 15:40 GMT

    Wow!! This seems to be indeed a player of tremendous scope and talent. In this world dedicated to follow every breathing moment of Sachin tendulkar and comment only on the shenanigans of Symonds or the Pakistani cricket team...it's nice to finally see a column dedicated to Bangladesh. As an Indian myself, every bangladeshi I've met has been an intense supporter of the team, and to see someone as talented as this lad here come out..is a cheer not only to the bangladeshi cricket establishment, but also to the supporters and fans who follow the team loyally. One day, when Bangladesh does defeat India..I'll stand up and aplaud with the entire country as well, on our neighbouring brothers! Wish you all the best Shakib - Chak de phattey!!

  • Shovel_Shot_94 on February 6, 2009, 15:37 GMT

    And the NO 1 all rounder in the world goes unnoticed in the recent IPL auctions.

  • Cric_fan921 on February 6, 2009, 15:26 GMT

    this looks like a total copy paste from a previous article by Rabeeb Imam a few days ago..it's an ok piece, no new info about Shakib..expected better from Mr. Utpal Shuvro who's written a few good articles earlier..

  • Bass_Man on February 6, 2009, 15:01 GMT

    A splendid feat by the young cricketer. He needs to keep this momentum for the future.

    It is quite a shame that in this round of IPL auctions, the teams have turned a blind eye to the current No.1 all rounder in the world.

  • tapan_2009 on February 6, 2009, 14:18 GMT

    Whenever in Bangladesh we watch our team playing, after the post match discussion we always get worried about the fact that we have good cricketers but not much thinking cricketers who play using their mind more than their bodies.

    Now at this moment at least we have one cricketer named Shakib Al Hasan who at this moment is not only No. 1 ranked Al rounder but also most intelligent cricketer for Bangladesh.

    We all hope his journey will bring us more hope in future and others will follow him.

  • jihaad23 on February 6, 2009, 13:25 GMT

    It is always great to see a good news about Bangladesh Cricket. I wish them good luck and hope them soon they will become a very compitative team in world calss level. What I believe is, Sakib's success is not our ultimate goal, rather it should be Bangladesh team cricket successs which is not happening currently. Again, I hope it will come one day and it would be in sooner rather later.

  • tanvir_rion on February 6, 2009, 13:24 GMT

    Thanks Utpal da for your great column .........

  • Koushik_Gonjar on February 6, 2009, 13:05 GMT

    No doubt that he is deserving his position by his continuous performances. As a Bangladeshi i am feeling so proud to see him such a position. If another two or three player placed themselfe in top ten ranking position then Bangladesh may win some more game. He is an example for other teammates. May Bangladesh claim at No. 1 world ranking position.

  • ujan on February 6, 2009, 11:43 GMT

    I regularly visit cricinfo as the country where I stay is the only means of getting cricket news. I was very excited and tried to congratulate Sakib via prothom-alo at the day when he ranked as No.1, but I can not help congratulating him again. Nothing but his achievement has brought us in a height that we feel proud to be a cricket loving country. I hope Mashrafi, Ashraful, Rakibul, Tamim, Mushfiq and others would also come up with the pace to get a slot in the ICC ranking. My best wishes to our loving cricket team. Thanks Mr. Utpol Shuvro for his inspiring writing.

  • Nipun on February 6, 2009, 5:31 GMT

    It's interesting to compare Sakib to Ashraful.To be fair,Sakib is an all rounder-a middle order batsman & the 2nd best left arm spinner in the world,whereas Ashraful is a pure batsman.But Sakib has outperformed Ashraful as a batsman in all forms of the game(he has higher averages than Ash),despite Ashraful being a more talented batsman than Sakib my quite some distance.This is a big achievement for Sakib.He is not the most gifted cricketer in the world,but he utilises all his talent,& couples it with outstanding temperament.Sakib can,by coupling temperament with talent,can become the world's top all-rounder in ALL forms of the game.In fact,why only an all-rounder ? He is already miles ahead as a spinner than the much hyped Panesars & all those,currently 2nd to only Vettori,that too by not much.If he can keep his head level & maintain his chief asset-the ability to learn & pick things up quickly-then there's absolutely no reason why can't reach the summit.Wishing him infinite success...

  • roneydaredevil on February 6, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    Well,right from the age groups,everybody knew that,Shakib is going to make it to the top level.So,its not surprising that he is performing consisnently at the highest level.But,the way he has played for the last few months is something special.The way he has raised his game in every match to match is some thing to learn for the other Bangladeshi boys.Bangladesh has lots of talent,but Shakib is different because the way he approach cricket.He is hard working,but more importantly,he has a matured head on his shoulder and has the hunger to learn.In many ways,actually he is very much different from the other Bangladeshi boys.Bangladesh had Aminul,Bashar,Ashraful,Tamim,Mashrafe....but Shakib is now the true icon for the youngstars(He himself,is still very young!!!).He is also a very good ambassador for Bangladesh.What he has done at the age of 22,as a Bangladeshi,i really feel very proud. And,Utpal Shuvra's writing is as always superb and again proves that he is the best. Arif Roney,DU.

  • MurVis on February 6, 2009, 3:55 GMT

    I hope this provides the necessary impetus for Bangladesh in the Future.. Great to see a Bangladeshi heading the ICC rankings... Best wishes to him

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  • MurVis on February 6, 2009, 3:55 GMT

    I hope this provides the necessary impetus for Bangladesh in the Future.. Great to see a Bangladeshi heading the ICC rankings... Best wishes to him

  • roneydaredevil on February 6, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    Well,right from the age groups,everybody knew that,Shakib is going to make it to the top level.So,its not surprising that he is performing consisnently at the highest level.But,the way he has played for the last few months is something special.The way he has raised his game in every match to match is some thing to learn for the other Bangladeshi boys.Bangladesh has lots of talent,but Shakib is different because the way he approach cricket.He is hard working,but more importantly,he has a matured head on his shoulder and has the hunger to learn.In many ways,actually he is very much different from the other Bangladeshi boys.Bangladesh had Aminul,Bashar,Ashraful,Tamim,Mashrafe....but Shakib is now the true icon for the youngstars(He himself,is still very young!!!).He is also a very good ambassador for Bangladesh.What he has done at the age of 22,as a Bangladeshi,i really feel very proud. And,Utpal Shuvra's writing is as always superb and again proves that he is the best. Arif Roney,DU.

  • Nipun on February 6, 2009, 5:31 GMT

    It's interesting to compare Sakib to Ashraful.To be fair,Sakib is an all rounder-a middle order batsman & the 2nd best left arm spinner in the world,whereas Ashraful is a pure batsman.But Sakib has outperformed Ashraful as a batsman in all forms of the game(he has higher averages than Ash),despite Ashraful being a more talented batsman than Sakib my quite some distance.This is a big achievement for Sakib.He is not the most gifted cricketer in the world,but he utilises all his talent,& couples it with outstanding temperament.Sakib can,by coupling temperament with talent,can become the world's top all-rounder in ALL forms of the game.In fact,why only an all-rounder ? He is already miles ahead as a spinner than the much hyped Panesars & all those,currently 2nd to only Vettori,that too by not much.If he can keep his head level & maintain his chief asset-the ability to learn & pick things up quickly-then there's absolutely no reason why can't reach the summit.Wishing him infinite success...

  • ujan on February 6, 2009, 11:43 GMT

    I regularly visit cricinfo as the country where I stay is the only means of getting cricket news. I was very excited and tried to congratulate Sakib via prothom-alo at the day when he ranked as No.1, but I can not help congratulating him again. Nothing but his achievement has brought us in a height that we feel proud to be a cricket loving country. I hope Mashrafi, Ashraful, Rakibul, Tamim, Mushfiq and others would also come up with the pace to get a slot in the ICC ranking. My best wishes to our loving cricket team. Thanks Mr. Utpol Shuvro for his inspiring writing.

  • Koushik_Gonjar on February 6, 2009, 13:05 GMT

    No doubt that he is deserving his position by his continuous performances. As a Bangladeshi i am feeling so proud to see him such a position. If another two or three player placed themselfe in top ten ranking position then Bangladesh may win some more game. He is an example for other teammates. May Bangladesh claim at No. 1 world ranking position.

  • tanvir_rion on February 6, 2009, 13:24 GMT

    Thanks Utpal da for your great column .........

  • jihaad23 on February 6, 2009, 13:25 GMT

    It is always great to see a good news about Bangladesh Cricket. I wish them good luck and hope them soon they will become a very compitative team in world calss level. What I believe is, Sakib's success is not our ultimate goal, rather it should be Bangladesh team cricket successs which is not happening currently. Again, I hope it will come one day and it would be in sooner rather later.

  • tapan_2009 on February 6, 2009, 14:18 GMT

    Whenever in Bangladesh we watch our team playing, after the post match discussion we always get worried about the fact that we have good cricketers but not much thinking cricketers who play using their mind more than their bodies.

    Now at this moment at least we have one cricketer named Shakib Al Hasan who at this moment is not only No. 1 ranked Al rounder but also most intelligent cricketer for Bangladesh.

    We all hope his journey will bring us more hope in future and others will follow him.

  • Bass_Man on February 6, 2009, 15:01 GMT

    A splendid feat by the young cricketer. He needs to keep this momentum for the future.

    It is quite a shame that in this round of IPL auctions, the teams have turned a blind eye to the current No.1 all rounder in the world.

  • Cric_fan921 on February 6, 2009, 15:26 GMT

    this looks like a total copy paste from a previous article by Rabeeb Imam a few days ago..it's an ok piece, no new info about Shakib..expected better from Mr. Utpal Shuvro who's written a few good articles earlier..