Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Monday banned Shakib Al Hasan from all cricket for six months and barred him from playing in overseas competitions until the end of 2015. Was the harsh punishment inevitable for the champion all-rounder? Was it something that the whole nation tried to overlook time and again until it reached a point of severe suffocation that needed a little dose of inhaler in a serious attempt to breathe fresh air?
It's a bit of both and the BCB, though belatedly, took a right step to discipline Shakib and more importantly gave the strongest possible signal for the others that no individual is above the law. In a country where everyone (including yours truly) is a Shakib fan, such a ground-breaking decision is a tough one to take. Shakib is not only the leader of a fearless new generation of cricketers, who have lived up to the dream of the nation on so many occasions, but is also the biggest star for Bangladesh on the world stage. He is the poster boy of the country. His exciting cover drives, audacious pulls against the bests of the world is the pride of the whole nation. When he cried after a few near-defeats, the whole nation cried with him. But over the last two years or so this pure entertainer has failed to handle his fame on and most importantly off the field. This has been a case with many cricketers in the world. But what Shakib lacked most was modesty in fame. We could have still lived with that but his growing attitude to belittle others and his inability to show respect to an institution that feeds him made him the most intolerable character in our cricket establishment. No one speaks openly against him but ask even the junior-most member of the Bangladesh team and he will whisper to your ears -- Shakib Bhai is by far our best player but still I think he deserves this punishment.
It's a very sad revelation for Shakib. It is a betrayal of faith that he had created himself. But we believe this is not the end of the world for our beloved allrounder. We strongly believe that this head-strong man has the ability to correct his flaws. We would like to say that we are with you Shakib during the whole course of your six months of painful barrier. When you return we want to see your innocent smile back. And surely you will win more hearts and more games.