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News

Jaded Shakib asks for break from international cricket: 'I don't think I should be in the South Africa tour'

"I was like a passenger in the Afghanistan series, which is never desirable. I didn't enjoy the ODIs and T20Is"

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
06-Mar-2022
Shakib Al Hasan speaks at an event, Dhaka, March 6, 2022

Shakib Al Hasan - "Considering my mental and physical state, I don't think I can play so much"  •  Mohammedan Sporting Club

Shakib Al Hasan has said that he needs a break from international cricket, indicating to the BCB's cricket operations chairman Jalal Yunus that he could opt out of the ODI series against South Africa later this month, so that he can come back mentally and physically fresh for the Test series in the same tour.
Shakib was named in both the squads last week after BCB president Nazmul Hassan claimed that the allrounder had agreed to go for the Tests too.
However, on Sunday before leaving Dhaka for Dubai for a personal engagement, Shakib said that he felt like a "passenger" in the just-concluded Afghanistan series, where he made 74 runs and took seven wickets in the three ODIs and two T20Is.
"Considering my mental and physical state, I don't think I can play so much international cricket," Shakib said. "If I get a break, if I get my interest back, I can play with more ease. I was like a passenger in the Afghanistan series, which is never desirable. I didn't enjoy the ODIs and T20Is. I don't think I should be in the South Africa tour with such a mentality. I want to meet everyone's expectations when I am playing. There's no guarantee of my best performance, but at least I will know that I tried hardest for the country. I don't want to waste the time or someone's spot. Playing in this way, as a passenger, it will be like betraying or cheating my team-mates and the country."
Shakib said that he did tell BCB chief Hassan that he will tour for both formats in South Africa, but he was having second thoughts during the Afghanistan series.
"I have informed Jalal bhai who told me to think about it for a couple of days. I am expecting a decision after that. I had earlier spoken with Papon bhai that I will play both the series but I thought long and hard since the match yesterday. Looking at my mental and physical condition, I need a bit of time. I might skip the ODI series to play the Tests in a better physical condition."
I don't want to waste the time or someone's spot. Playing in this way, as a passenger, it will be like betraying or cheating my team-mates and the country
Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib said that he wants the BCB to chalk out a year-long plan for him by taking into account the advanced stage of his career. He said that he had asked the BCB for a break from all Tests till mid-November, not for just six months as Hassan had said last week.
"I think at this stage of my career, I need a long-term plan. I think it is important that we have clarity about everything. My letter to the board didn't mention six months. I told the board that I wanted to stay out of Tests till November 22 this year. I wanted to concentrate fully on white-ball cricket. We have two World Cups in the next two years.
"I didn't want to leave Tests totally, but because we are finding a bit of balance in the Test side, I felt that if I focus on white-ball, considering my age and physical fitness, I could have done better in ODIs and T20Is. I think it is better if I know the long-term plan about me. There's no point thinking series-by-series."
Bangladesh are scheduled to leave for South Africa on March 12. They will play three ODIs on March 18, 20 and 23, as well as two Tests from March 31 to April 8.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84