Feb 022014
 
Sabbir, Muktar likely for Sri Lanka T20s
Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim added 55 for the fifth wicket, Bangladesh v New Zealand, 5th ODI, Mirpur, October 17, 2010

Shakib Al Hasan or Mushfiqur Rahim could come up the order in the Sri Lanka T20s © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: Sabbir Rahman | Muktar Ali
Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of Bangladesh

Batsman Sabbir Rahman and pace bowler Muktar Ali are likely to earn maiden call-ups to the Bangladesh Twenty20 squad, for the two-match series against Sri Lanka from February 12. These will be Bangladesh’s last matches before the World Twenty20, so the selectors will be trying out players whom they consider possible selections for the March event.

Apart from the two new faces, Tamim Iqbal is expected to return to the side, while the rest of the line-up will be reordered. Shamsur Rahman will remain at the top with Tamim, but captain Mushfiqur Rahim or Shakib Al Hasan are set to come up the batting line-up. Sabbir could follow the experience duo, if the management decides to replace Naeem Islam from the last Twenty20 line-up against New Zealand.

Ziaur Rahman will likely be retained in the side for his role as a big-hitter and medium pace bowler.

Sabbir had a prolific last year in this format, having scored six half-centuries. His part-time leg-spin and athletic fielding could also be important factors when his name comes up for discussion among the national selectors. He first caught the eye when he hit a match-winning 33 off 18 against Afghanistan in the Asian Games final in 2010. He did well in domestic Twenty20 tournaments thereafter, playing for Duronto Rajshahi and Barisal Burners in the two BPL seasons. His ability to read a situation in T20 has been marked out as one of his strengths. But Sabbir’s strike rate still has to improve; that has often been a major problem for Bangladesh batsmen in T20s.

Among the bowlers, only Shakib had figures worth mentioning in T20 internationals last year, so the selectors have to look elsewhere. Among the pace bowlers on the domestic circuit, Muktar’s lively action, variation and the fact that coach Shane Jurgensen has been quite impressed by the young pace bowler puts him in contention for a place.

Mashrafe Mortaza is also likely to return, while Al-Amin Hossain’s ability to hold his own in T20s would most likely keep him in the starting line-up in the first game.

Abdur Razzak will be persisted with on the spin front. In 2013, Enamul Haque jr was the top domestic T20 wicket-taker with 26 wickets. He should be among the spinners looked into, alongside Elias Sunny.

Jan 252014
 
Shakib wants sporting Mirpur pitch
Shakib Al Hasan celebrates with teammates, Bangladesh v New Zealand, 2nd Test, 2nd day, Mirpur, October 22, 2013

Shakib Al Hasan: “We always play to win. The days of Bangladesh playing a match just to do well or to draw are long gone” © AFP
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Players/Officials: Shakib Al Hasan
Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of Bangladesh

Shakib Al Hasan wants a sporting pitch at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in the first Test against Sri Lanka. He said Bangladesh are now capable of handling such conditions, and not just playing on featherbeds.

The home side has never won a Test match in Mirpur. They have lost eight times and drawn twice, both against New Zealand. The pitch has tended to be on the slower side over the last three years, with bowlers getting less assistance as the match progresses. This has been true for both seamers and spinners, with the playing surface not prone to deteriorating.

Shakib said that an even contest between bat and ball would help the home side.

“In my opinion, sporting wickets are good,” Shakib said. “Sri Lanka are not the sort of team who play spin poorly or don’t have spinners. Sporting wickets give good value to runs and wickets. We are an experienced side, and have played well as a team and individually. I think we can handle a sporting wicket.

“Our bowling attack is good, but a lot will depend on the wicket. It becomes difficult to bowl on a flat wicket. But I believe that if it is a sporting wicket, we have the ability as a bowling unit.”

Shakib has asked the pace bowlers and the newcomers in the side to step up, saying they have a role to play if the team is to win. “Everyone has to contribute,” he said. “Even if someone takes a five-wicket haul, the others have to take a wicket each, at least. The fast bowlers have a big role to play; they have to take up responsibility. The spinners will continue to bowl according to their ability.

“Our team is not selected but among the batsmen, Marshall [Ayub] has played a few Tests, Shamsur Rahman is new while Imrul Kayes has played Tests in the past. It is not as if they are new so they have any less of a responsibility. The best 14 players in Bangladesh are in this team. They have all performed, and deserve a place. We can win very few matches if we have only one or two performers.”

Bangladesh will try to break up the day into small sessions, according to Shakib, who said they would chase a positive result at all times rather than look to draw. In 2013, they lost two Tests, won one and drew three.

“We always play to win,” Shakib said. “The days of Bangladesh playing a match just to do well or to draw are long gone. We have to divide it into small sessions, if we do well in those, we can get a good result overall.

“Bangladesh played well against Sri Lanka on the last occasion. We will have some home advantage. We have played well at home in the last two years, so if we can continue on that, we can shorten the difference between the two sides.”

Jan 022014
 
Shakib joins Adelaide Strikers
Shakib Al Hasan at a training session, Dhaka, November 26, 2013

Shakib Al Hasan is currently fourth on the ICC’s Twenty20 allrounder rankings © BCB
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Series/Tournaments: Big Bash League

Shakib Al Hasan has signed up with Adelaide Strikers as a replacement player for their injured captain Johan Botha, becoming the first Bangladeshi cricketer in the Big Bash League. He will join the side for Sunday’s game against Sydney Sixers in Adelaide.

“While it is disappointing to be missing our captain at this stage of the season, we are lucky to be able to add someone as talented as Al Hasan to our line-up at such short notice,” Strikers coach Darren Berry said. “Al Hasan is renowned for being cool under pressure, which is so important in this form of the game.

“He is a left-arm orthodox spinner and left-arm punishing batsman, so he will play a similar role to Botha and will help to maintain the balance in our team. We spoke to him yesterday and he is chomping at the bit to get out here to help Strikers continue our winning form and reclaim our position at the top of the table.”

Shakib is currently fourth on the ICC’s Twenty20 allrounder rankings. He has 1832 runs at a strike-rate of 127.57 and 148 wickets at an economy-rate of 6.60 from 116 T20 matches.

Botha sustained a thumb injury in Strikers’ win over Perth Scorchers on December 31, and is likely to miss two games, with an expected return against Scorchers on January 16 in Perth. Phillip Hughes will act as captain in Botha’s absence. “We will continue to monitor Johan’s injury over the next week and look forward to him re-joining the team soon,” Berry said.

Under the new BBL playing conditions for this season, Botha will be able to resume his place in the squad if he recovers and is fit to play before the end of the tournament.

Oct 182013
 
Bangladesh eyeing series win - Shakib
Shakib Al Hasan appeals successfully for an lbw call against Kane Williamson, Bangladesh v New Zealand, 1st Test, Chittagong, day 1, October 9, 2013

Shakib Al Hasan is thrilled with the way the Bangladesh Test team are going © AFP
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Shakib Al Hasan has said that the Bangladesh team’s overall confidence has risen over the past five years as now there are more players who are performing regularly. The latest in that list is Sohag Gazi, who became the first Test cricketer to score a hundred and take a hat-trick in a Test.

Shakib, himself, took the catch to complete Gazi’s hat-trick, an excellent swoop from leg-slip after the ball had nicked off Mushfiqur Rahim’s pad. Gazi and the rest of the team went delirious in joy, as Shakib slowly got up and tossed the ball back to the umpire. The catch is one of many moments in the past two years which has signified the team’s growing willpower after the lows of 2011. The drawn Test match against New Zealand last week is also the latest sign that there is progress within the team.

“It felt great taking that catch,” Shakib said. “You don’t get such a milestone every day. [Sohag] Gazi has created history, so it was great to be part of it.

“We are looking to win the series [against New Zealand]. We have a major opportunity, so we have every reason to give it our best.”

Shakib said that since his international debut, the talk in the dressing-room has gone through a lot of change. He has had a major contribution to this transformation, particularly his role in the 4-0 series win over New Zealand three years ago.

“When I started six years ago, our goal was to play five days. Then it was to draw Test matches. Now we go out to win. We have been progressing as a team all along. Everything takes time. This team has been playing together for quite some time, so we have more confidence.

“When there are four or five performers in a team, the rest of the players then want to do well. So within everyone, there is a challenge to perform. I think it is major positive for the Bangladesh team.”

Shakib hasn’t necessarily stopped being a performer himself. There have been two injuries in the recent past that stunted his appearance. The stress fracture on his shin forced him out of the tour of Sri Lanka, during which Bangladesh drew a Test match and got out with a 1-1 draw in the ODI series. He bowled less in this Test match because his workload hasn’t still been ascertained, but still was there when Bangladesh needed someone to stop the fall of wickets in the last session of the fifth day.

In Bangladesh’s last Test win, against Zimbabwe in May, had two Shakib half-centuries. He has struggled with the ball in the Chittagong Test match, but he has said the hunger is far from satiated. The fact that he has returned to the top of the Test all-rounder rankings has been an added inspiration.

“It is easy to motivate myself when I look at the rankings. My battle is with top cricketers, but I wouldn’t compare myself with anyone. Everyone wants to contribute to the team’s cause. I don’t think any cricketer keeps an eye on the rankings but it does feel good to be at the top.”

This is his second time in the No. 1 position in the Test rankings, after scaling the height in December 2011. While someone like Jacques Kallis gets plenty of opportunities to maintain such a position, Shakib has to do his best in the limited number of Tests that Bangladesh play. The second Test against New Zealand is one of them, and given the position of the series, there couldn’t be a better time for Shakib.

Oct 132013
 
Gazi Hat-Trick Before Opening Test Drawn
Sunday 13 October 2013 

by John Pennington

Shakib Al Hasan

Shakib Al Hasan struck a 39-ball half-century before the game was drawn in Chittagong

REUTERS / Action Images

New Zealand 469 & 287-7 dec. drew with
Bangladesh 501 & 173-3 (Shakib Al Hasan 50no)
First Test, Chittagong
Scorecard | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Sohag Gazi followed up his maiden century with a hat-trick on the final day of the first Test in Chittagong before Bangladesh and New Zealand played out a draw.

Gazi removed Corey Anderson, BJ Watling and Doug Bracewell in consecutive deliveries in New Zealand’s second innings, which they declared at 287 for seven.

That set Bangladesh a target of 255 to win and they batted confidently to finish on 173 for three with Shakib Al Hasan hitting a 39-ball half-century before stumps were drawn.

Gazi becomes the second man to take a Test hat-trick after Alok Kapali achieved the feat against Pakistan in 2003, and he is the first man to take a Test hat-trick for Bangladesh at home.

New Zealand resumed on 117 for one and as Peter Fulton (59), Kane Williamson (74) and Ross Taylor (54 not out) all scored half-centuries, they were able to extend their lead.

Gazi struck to remove Fulton and Williamson, then bowled Brendon McCullum for 22 to keep Bangladesh in with an outside chance of victory.

Then, in the 84th over, he made history. First, he trapped Anderson in front for eight, then had Watling caught behind by Mushfiqur Rahim and finished the hat-trick when Bracewell was caught by Nasir Hossain.

That left New Zealand at 260 for seven and they batted on and once Taylor had reached his half-century and Ish Sodhi had cracked 22 not out in 12 balls, they decided it was time to put Bangladesh back into bat and see if their spinners could do anything like as well as Bangladesh’s.

Gazi finished with figures of six for 77 – his second five-wicket haul in Tests.

Bangladesh began their innings in circumspect fashion as Tamim Iqbal put his golden duck of the first innnigs behind him to compile a patient 46 in 95 balls before he was caught by Williamson off Bruce Martin.

Anamul Haque had already fallen for 18 and Marshall Ayub (31) was trapped in front by Sodhi to make the score 101 for three.

Mominul Haque, fresh from scoring a superb 181 in the first innings, looked solid again in making 22 not out in 41 balls but at the other end, Shakib chose to go on the attack, although there were not going to be quite enough overs for Bangladesh to pull off the win.

He crunched three sixes, two in as many deliveries off Sodhi, as well as four fours to finish unbeaten on 50 in 39 balls.

Once he reached his 14th Test half-century, the players shook hands to conclude a Test match that had plenty of twists and turns as well as dramatic collapses and unlikely partnerships; but for a rain delay late on day four, it might well have produced a positive result in either team’s favour.

The second Test gets underway in Dhaka on 21st October.

© Cricket World 2013

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