Why Shakib Al Hasan Is the Bangladesh Player India Would Love to Have

Rob Lancaster@RobLancs79Featured ColumnistJune 9, 2015

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 18:  Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh looks on during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup match between Bangladesh and Afghanistan at Manuka Oval on February 18, 2015 in Canberra, Australia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

If India could pick just one player from Bangladesh, Shakib Al Hasan would be the obvious choice.

The 28-year-old has been one of the shining lights as his country has struggled to dazzle at the top table. He bats, he bowls, he fields, making him a multidimensional cricketer in all formats of the game.

In his career so far, Shakib has already been ranked by the ICC as the leading all-rounder in both Test and one-day cricket.

He is the only Bangladeshi to appear in this year's Indian Premier League, while he has also played county cricket in England, experienced the Big Bash in Australia and played his trade in the Caribbean Premier League, proving his reputation stretches well beyond the subcontinent. 

His CV is impressive, and he may only just be entering his prime now.

India would dearly love to have Shakib in their line-up, particularly in Test cricket.

His addition would help balance out Virat Kohli’s side, giving them a strong-looking top six without compromising their desire to field a five-man bowling attack.

That is the versatility that Shakib offers: He averages 40.17 with the bat and has also taken 142 wickets with his left-arm off-spin in 39 Tests.

Those numbers are solid by anyone's standards, but he has had to cope with the added pressure of holding together a brittle Bangladesh side, even though he is no longer captain.

There would, however, be no such extra responsibility on his shoulders if he were in India’s ranks.

The batting firepower in front of him would allow him to relax, rather than worry he might have to quickly put his pads on. At No. 6, he could express himself and play positively.

He would also provide India with the answer to a problematic position. With former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni now retired from Test action, India have a void to fill in their middle order.

Wriddhiman Saha has taken over as wicketkeeper and while he can bat, No. 7 is the right spot for him to get acclimated to life in the team.

Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane are pillars of strength in the batting, and Shakib—who has hit three Test centuries—would slot in nicely behind the right-handed pair, just ahead of Saha.

Shakib’s most valuable asset to India, however, would be his bowling.

Shakib Al Hasan: Has taken 14 five-wicket hauls in Tests
Shakib Al Hasan: Has taken 14 five-wicket hauls in TestsA.M.Ahad/Associated Press

He would bring balance to the attack, allowing the selectors to choose three fast bowlers plus another spinner, one who would most likely turn the ball in the opposite direction to the left-armer.

As the extra bowler, Shakib would be a reliable option for Kohli, yet would not be relied on to do the bulk of the work.

With Bangladesh he is the leader of the pack, the man they turn to for inspiration. If he was playing for India, though, that would not be the case. 

When the surfaces are dry and worn, when the game is in the closing stages, he could provide an attacking option. Yet his control, both of flight and line, means he is able to perform a holding role when required.

That versatility makes Shakib a special talent, and a delight for any captain who has him in their ranks.

He has taken 14 five-wicket hauls for Bangladesh, while his best match figures saw him claim 10 for 124 against Zimbabwe in Kulna last year. In the same match he also scored a century, a feat only previously achieved in Test cricket by two of the greatest all-rounders ever seen: Sir Ian Botham and Imran Khan.

India has selected a slow-bowler who can bat before. Most recently they have tried Ravindra Jadeja, but he has yet to convince in his 12 Test appearances.

Shakib would be an upgrade on Jadeja, giving India the genuine all-rounder they crave.

They will get to see just what they're missing out on when the neighbouring nations meet in a one-off Test in Fatullah.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.