Shakib doesn’t miss a beat on comeback | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 21, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:11 AM, January 21, 2021

Shakib doesn’t miss a beat on comeback

Displaying emphatic body language that was only matched by performance and a cutthroat personality, Shakib Al Hasan picked up where he left off as he returned to international cricket after serving a one-year ban imposed by the ICC in the first of three ODIs against the West Indies yesterday.

Bangladesh were also making a return to international cricket after over ten months without international assignments due to the pandemic, but all eyes were on the star all-rounder and how he would go about his business.

Any fears were allayed as he walked out as the man-of-the-match on his comeback game.

The champion cricketer looked extremely focused after skipper Tamim Iqbal, who opted to field after winning the toss, handed him the ball in the eleventh over of the first innings.

Shakib nearly picked up the wicket of Andre McCarthy with his second delivery, a beautiful, loopy delivery that shaped into the right-hander and was somehow negotiated. But given the wealth of experience at his disposal, Shakib immediately realised the situation and toss the ball up at the batsman to create an angle that tends to come into the right-hander and turns away.

After being watchful in the first over, McCarthy lost his cool and went for a slog sweep to another tossed up delivery from Shakib, missing the line completely and getting bowled. Shakib's first wicket on his comeback was also his 150th ODI wicket at home.

It was just the beginning from the vastly experienced left-arm spinner, whose keeping things simple was enough to break the back of the West Indies batting line-up.

Shakib then dragged visiting skipper Jason Mohammed out of his crease and drifted the ball away to induce a stumping and Nkrumah Bonner became his third victim, falling prey to a typical Shakib leg-before trap on the front foot.

When Shakib returned for his second spell, it took him just two balls to dismiss the last West Indies batsman, Alzarri Joseph, and end with magnificent figures of four for eight from 7.2 overs as the visitors folded for a paltry 122 runs.

Speaking of Shakib, there has to be a mention of the record that he eventually made. His figures yesterday were the most economical of all four-wicket hauls by a Bangladeshi in ODIs.

However, despite such a heroic comeback, Shakib was his usual calm and composed self and said that he only kept things simple and let the ball do the talking.

"As a bowler, I wanted to keep it simple and let the ball and the wicket do the work.  Obviously playing after 16-17 months is not easy. But [I'm] happy with the way I performed," Shakib said after the game.

However, after some talks over below-par batting performances in the in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup last month, Shakib again missed out with the willow.

Shakib's response when asked about that was interesting.

"I don't count all the domestic games I played. Outside the dressing room, people may think about it but I don't think about it. I should have finished the game tonight, but I will work on it and try to finish the next time. What we can do is try all the time, but the outcome depends on luck and a player can only give a hundred per cent and leave the rest."

The 33-year-old also spoke about his demotion in the batting order from number three to four, saying that whether he wanted to or not, it was the team's decision and he would contribute accordingly.

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