Shakib Al Hasan May 21, 2012

'I like football more than cricket'

Is the world's top allrounder trapped in the wrong sport? Hear it from the man himself

What is the secret to being the best allrounder in the world?
Keep working hard, keep doing the right things, and try and contribute to your team.

You spent a lot of your teenage years at boarding school. What are the advantages of staying away from home?
You become independent because you have to do lots of things by yourself. If you are home, your family will try and do it all for you.

Did you ever cook for your parents when they came to visit you in Dhaka?
I can only cook omelettes. That is the best I can do.

Tell us something we don't know about you.
I always say what is in my heart. I try to control myself but on certain occasions I can't hold it in. I am very emotional.

Has there been a time when you lost your temper while captaining Bangladesh?
I remember during the 2011 World Cup, I made some comments against some former Bangladesh players who were critical of me. I reacted strongly. I do regret that now. At that moment it felt like the right thing, but I have grown up now, I think differently.

Five-for or a hundred?
When I got the seven-wicket haul against New Zealand in Chittagong, I was ecstatic. But I will always put a hundred over a five-for because I do not need to work hard on my bowling. That is not the case when it comes to batting.

Do you have a hobby outside of cricket?
I like football more than cricket, seriously. I am football-crazy. I would stay up late to follow soccer in Europe. Barcelona, always. If the team hotels do not have football on TV, I will follow it on the internet. I have never been to Camp Nou yet. Maybe next year. I would like to watch Barca play Real Madrid.

Your nickname is Moyna (after the bird, the mynah). Who gave it?
I was at the High Performance Centre, where most players graduate into the Bangladesh team. Once, during a camp, Naeem Islam, one of my senior Bangladesh team-mates, started calling me Moyna for no particular reason. Tamim Iqbal (Petla - paunchy) and Mushfiqur Rehman (Batul - short) have funnier nicknames than mine.

Recently you came to an Asia Cup press conference in a clown hat. What was that all about?
Someone from the crowd threw me the hat after we made the final. The press conference came immediately after the victory ride. The next match, there were so many fans with similar hats in the ground.

Do you agree the Bangladeshi fan is the most emotional in the cricketing world?
Both India and Bangladesh have highly emotional fans.

What's the one question the media should be banned from asking you?
What will happen in tomorrow's match?

What is one thing you can teach Shahrukh Khan?
Perhaps I can teach him how to spin the ball. But I am a little shy in his presence because I don't know what exactly to say.

Is it true that your fans have sent you marriage proposals in blood?
It has happened once or twice. I thought the woman must be really mad. Once, I was in a restaurant, and a lady fan sent me a love letter on a piece of tissue. I did not know who she was, as I did not see her.

Is there a match from the past where you wanted to be the player who turned the game on its head?
Either of the innings played by Gautam Gambhir or MS Dhoni for India during the 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai against Sri Lanka. The occasion was such that you couldn't express it in words. They absorbed the pressure and showed they were capable of playing such an innings. I would have loved to perform in such a situation.

What's the one thing tourists should always do in Bangladesh?
Never leave before tasting shorshey ilish, which is an amazing fish dish.

What Olympic sport would you buy a ticket to watch?
The 100 metres final. I don't have any tickets yet for the London Olympics, but if I go there I know someone will help me get in.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo