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Questions remain over Shakib's absence

DHAKA, Sept.13, 2017 (BSS)- The timing for a six month sabbatical not only has raised eyebrows but also leaves a lot of questions in one's mind as to the players thought process.

Yes, it is Shakib Al Hasan's brief respite as he would like to put it that makes one wonder if the world's best all rounder at least as far as rankings are concerned, chose the most opportune moment or not.

Former Bangladesh opening batsman Ishtiaque Ahmad shares his thoughts with BSS on Wednesday. He said "There is absolutely no doubt that the quintessential all rounder would have further enhanced his credentials as a world class player and his ability as a batsman on any condition is proven beyond doubt.

The gradual development of Shakib Al Hasan as one of the best all rounders in world cricket today has not only inspired the whole nation, but has been largely instrumental in its recent performances in international cricket.

While Mashrafe Mortaza according to the pundits could be attributed as the single most important factor in the resurgence of Bangladesh present enhanced status added to the appointment of Hathurasingha as the national team coach one cannot however overlook the initiative taken by the Board President to make him the captain after Mushfiqur Rahim's removal from that position.

Given Bangladesh's forthcoming engagements wherein it is supposed to be playing quite a number of Test matches in the coming days, it is very unfortunate that the senior pro had to take such a leave of absence. While it is an entirely personal decision by a player who has achieved so much not only as a player but has taken a cricket crazy country to a level of respect by the entire world, it still would have been appropriate on his part to look beyond his own status and profile.

Perhaps too much cricket could have led to this decision while speculation is rife that there still could be reasons that the eye cannot see. What ought to have been even more appropriate from the Boards perspective is to have sat with him across the table to ascertain the viability of his commitments to so many T20 engagements around the world which no doubt has a telling effect on mind and body wherein the probability of national interest would have been overlooked.

While his participation in such tournaments is encouraging as the mercurial allrounder is the only individual responsible of the ecstatic fans waving our national flags that we get to see
worldwide? By accepting his request what the cricket board has done is set a precedence from
which it could find itself in sticky waters should other players follow suit.

The absence of Shakib Al Hasan would no doubt leave Mushfiqur Rahim in a quandary as such a top quality two in one player can hardly be replaced and more so on such testing conditions as they would be facing in South Africa. Even though the classy Mahmudullah Riyad makes a comeback but Shakib's aggressive and confident presence as a batsman will be hugely missed and so will be his guile as a left arm spinner.

Needless to say but Taijul Islam can be hardly relied upon to do what even a half fit Shakib Al Hasan is expected to do. The onus therefore would be resting on Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim essentially as the two have shown what it takes to perform at the top most level and the diminutive captain would look to notch up yet another century to make it almost a 100% record against all countries overseas.

Surely enough Tamim Iqbal would much prefer a steady opening partner and given his success with Imrul Kayes it ought to be the stocky left hander instead of the stylish and flamboyant Soumya Sarkar as his partner. As far as the bowling department is concerned, at least a minimum

of three fast bowlers would be fielded during the Test matches along with Taijul Islam as the other specialist spinner besides the young Mehdi Hasan Meraj.

It wouldn't be out of place however to consider the young off spinner not only as an integral part of the side but a likely candidate as a future all rounder a la Shakib Al Hasan. Should the Test matches be played on wickets that would have something for the fast bowlers then the likes of Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman would pose as a very potent attack against South Africa.

However the host no doubt will come out with all guns blazing against Bangladesh who until recently have gotten the better of two big giants as England and Australia in Test matches at home and Sri Lanka in their own back yard. Not until recently this same Bangladesh side fared brilliantly against the Kiwis in New Zealand albeit in a losing concern.