Shakib Al Hasan was the hero of the day. But Shakib Al Hasan also broke the hearts of millions in the country yesterday after the end of the fourth day's play at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium. After taking four wickets the left-hander hit 97; an outstanding effort by an all-rounder. But the stats do not always speak the whole truth. Obviously Shakib once again showed his calibre but one can easily question whether he fully understands the meaning of responsibility; otherwise how can a player like him play a shot like he played in the last over of the day.
It would have been nice if he explained the reason behind his sudden madness, but the charismatic all-rounder ducked the post-day press conference. The whispers doing the rounds were that Shakib was not interested in facing the press, although he was the top performer for Bangladesh, but the media manager informed that the all-rounder was having problems in his right shin bone and had gone for an MRI scan, which is why he didn't appear in the press conference.
Instead Nasir Hossain, the other successful batsman who remained unbeaten on 64, came to explain the reason behind his side's pathetic batting performance. But his explanation defending his batsmen's 'natural' stroke-playing only raised further questions about whether the problem lies in the thinking and approach of the batsmen.
“Shakib Al Hasan became what he is by playing like this. I think everyone should play their natural game. You can't ask Tamim Iqbal to defend all day, he can't do that. They tried to play to their ability, it didn't come off,” Nasir defended Shakib.
“When Shakib hit Narine (Sunil), I realised that he wanted to complete the hundred today. Before that over I had told him to just pick the singles and reach the hundred. A lot of things work in your mind when you reach that stage. (Sachin) Tendulkar's knee also shivers when he's nearing a hundred,” he added.
“There's a lot to learn from Shakib, and I don't think anyone else is able to give such services to Bangladesh. In terms of skills, I don't think there's anyone less skilled than him. I think Shakib is mentally very strong,” he said when asked about what made Shakib different than the others in the team.
Nasir was also not ready to accept that Bangladesh do not have the ability to put in a better batting display, although the team have been making the same mistakes time and again.
“We have much better ability, but I think the ones who got out, there were some mistakes in their planning. I think it will not happen all the time. We will do something better.”
The young all-rounder however contradicted his earlier view about his teammates' natural approach when talking about his batting approach on the slow pitch.
“In my case, I knew today that the ball is keeping low. I didn't want to play any lofted shots, and that's how I have batted,” said Nasir, and added, “Scoring hundreds is a matter of habit. If we could have played more NCL matches, it would have helped us.”
Regarding their inability against the short balls, he said: “The wicket has to be even if one wants to play bouncers properly.”
Nasir also said that they still have some batsmen left, so they will try to bat as long as possible and not think of innings defeats.