Shakib Al Hasan’s public image would have been better over time without some of his outbursts. Kicking the stumps and scolding the umpire during a Dhaka Premier League match earlier this year was definitely not on. Nor was the inappropriate gesture on live television during the 2014 Asia Cup.
Some examples of offensive behavior in Shakib’s career are in the Nidahas Trophy where he got into an altercation with the umpire over a no-ball, before facing a slump against another Dhaka umpire during a Bangladesh Premier League match in Mirpur. . . His career was almost ruined in 2019 by being banned for not reporting corrupt practices. But Shakib makes a comeback every time on the strength of his talent. He can be volatile but when in his elements, Shakib compels you to admire his cricket.
It’s not easy if you think hard. It is not 2014, when Kolkata Knight Riders last won the IPL with Shakib as a key cog in the team. Everything changed in the next few years from the corps to the KKR captain. Spin options have changed. Varun Chakraborty is now liked with Sunil Narine. But Shakib has managed to stay relevant. He has to wait for his turn in this IPL. But when he did, Shakib showed why he is one of the best all-rounders ever in the white-ball format.
It’s not about his batting. Let’s not even start with his bowling, for that matter. Let’s go back to that slightly wide fuller from Chakraborty that Shikhar Dhawan tried to leave the pitch and clear the boundary. The pitch was slow and Chakraborty almost released the ball with the back of his hand. It was never going to hit the sweet spot. Instead, it took an outside lead and Shakib performed brilliantly with a forward dive and caught at backward point.
It was a match changing out. On a slightly deeper and slower Sharjah pitch, Delhi Capitals lost their main base in the 15th over, when they should have changed gears after getting a good feel of the pitch. Getting on the Sharjah pitch on Wednesday was not easy. Marcus Stoinis was at sea. Rishabh Pant found it difficult to read the bounce. And Shimron Hetmyer was the best stop-start. Dhawan’s dismissal ensured that Delhi Capitals struggled to maintain a decent run rate instead of consolidating on whatever they needed to collect in the 15 overs. It all happened because of that catch from Shakib.
Then it was a courageous move to start bowling. With on-field restrictions, Shakib opens the innings with the ball tossed to Prithvi Shaw. The next ball was quick and short, forcing Shaw to place and cut but failed to clear the infield. Four more deliveries of varying lengths and speeds and Shakib set the tone with an opening over that went for just one run. The second over was more expensive but Shakib still ended with 4-0-28-0. He could have dismissed Dhawan with a quick delivery down leg in the seventh over, but Dinesh Karthik failed to collect it properly to stump the left-hander.
Of the 28 runs that Shakib scored in his quota of four overs, 14 came in three hits, 10 of which came in his second over. Shakib never let KKR down. One of the fastest operators of the game, Delhi Capitals went through his overs, varying his pace and length before realizing what had happened. It was nothing less than a robbery for the all-rounder, in good conditions like home against Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer.
In four matches in the IPL, Shakib has made a silent contribution with his bowling – 1/20, 1/1, 0/24 and now this. Shakib is still indispensable for KKR like before.