Shakib Al Hasan
Okay, we’ve had a slight about-turn. We’ve decided that Bangladesh aren’t certain to lose the Asia Cup final to Pakistan. We’ve decided they’re definitely going to win instead.
This sudden heartfelt belief has come about because we spent four minutes thinking about Shakib Al Hasan yesterday and we remembered how important it is to have pointless and illogical obsessions in life.
Let’s try and get a handle on Shakib Al Hasan’s unparalleled genius using some facts. Other websites do facts and people read them, so there are no excuses – you have to keep reading.
What a bowler!
At the age of 24, Shakib Al Hasan has taken 158 one-day international wickets. That is a lot. Do you know how many England players have taken more than 158 one-day international wickets in the whole of history?
At the age of 24, Shakib Al Hasan has already outdone Eddie Hemmings, Alan Mullally and scores of other household names. Only Andrew Flintoff, James Anderson and Darren Gough can boast of having taken more wickets and they are all completely ace.
Read it and weep, Phillip Defreitas.
What a batsman!
At the age of 24, Shakib Al Hasan has hit 3,567 one-day international runs. That is a lot. Do you know how many England players have scored more than 3,567 one-day international runs in the whole of history.
Okay, that’s not quite as impressive, but luminaries such as Wayne Larkins and Vikram Solanki are still trailing in our boy’s wake.
Read it and weep, Jamie Dalyrymple.
What an all-rounder!
It should be noted that Andrew Flintoff, James Anderson and Darren Gough have all scored fewer runs than Shakib, so he wins at cricket. He is the best of the cricketers.
This is why Bangladesh will win the Asia Cup. If they don’t, it’s because one of the other ten players has ruined it for everybody with his rank incompetence.28 Appeals
Four years after we tipped him for greatness, Shakib Al Hasan hit his first Test hundred. New Zealand were on the receiving end and while they won the match, their bowlers took some stick.
After dawdling along on nought for an age, Shakib Al Hasan suddenly engaged the long handle and walloped 40 runs in 13 balls. His hundred eventually took 127 balls, which is pretty remarkable considering the fact that he was on eight after 40 balls.
Playing conditions in New Zealand are as unfamiliar to the Bangladeshis as conditions can get, yet they’re scoring hundreds and improving with every match.
Bangladesh can score runs and take wickets and those two things are coinciding more and more frequently. In home conditions their performance will be a notch better and someone’s going to get it fairly soon.
We have watched our national side for long enough to know that if there’s an embarrassment out there for the taking, England aren’t the kind of side who are going to resist grasping at it. Even now, they’re probably fashioning some sort of net to guarantee they can collect it and add it to their already sizable collection.12 Appeals
Not sure we’ve got Imran Khan or Garry Sobers on the cards, but it’s not looking bad.
Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh, age 22
As a cricket-writer, we’re worried there’ll be no words left in a few years time, because they’ll all have been eaten by Bangladesh criticisers. Shakib Al Hasan will make people backtrack until they’ve returned to the womb. He is the best one-day all-rounder in the world and he is 22. He is not going to get any worse at any point in the next decade. Dwell on that.
Dwayne Bravo, West Indies, 26
Played a bit. Been solid. Time to push on, Dwayne.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India, 28
The most dangerous batsmen are those who can destroy an attack but don’t feel that they have to. For Dhoni it’s all about the runs. He’ll get them in singles, he’ll get them in ugly works to leg. He doesn’t care. He also doesn’t care about his average. He just wants to win matches.
Matt Prior, England, 27
No, seriously. Matt Prior has been one of the best batsmen in England for quite a while and being as everyone seems to have gone a bit quiet about his keeping, that must be acceptable as well. Despite his hairline, he’s actually 27. He could prove a very important player in the next few years.
Stuart Broad, England, 23
Don’t talk him up? Tough shit. We’re starting to believe that he can bowl, which is the main thing, while he’s got bags of time to sort out the batting, which has largely been okay anyway.25 Appeals
We’d sooner Shakib Al Hasan had signed for a first division county, but don’t underestimate the significance of a Bangladeshi clambering aboard the treadmill.
It means that while they might be three-and-a-half years late, Worcestershire have cottoned on to the fact that this is a good player – despite the fact that he’s from Bangladesh. Maybe it’s because international batting averages are routinely qualified with: ‘but if you take out Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, his average falls to 36′. Bangladeshi cricket is there to be overlooked, it seems.
Worcestershire will do well and Shakib will learn a lot. He’s still only 22, so this is probably going to come back to haunt England one day.9 Appeals
Not top hats and rabbits magic – the good kind.
Shakib Al Hasan took 1-24 against Zimbabwe today. Then he hit 105 not out off 69 balls by way of an encore. Almost imperceptibly, he’s becoming a top all-rounder and Bangladesh’s first superstar.
He was even named Test player of the year by The Wisden Cricketer this month, which is quite an accolade. It says something that the article starts “Who is Shakib Al Hasan?” even though it’s a full three-and-a-half years since we said he was mint.
We’re pretty certain that we can justifiably claim to be ahead of the curve on this one, which makes up for mobile phones and Seinfeld – both of which we were about eight years late on.5 Appeals
Shakib al Hasan is the best one-day international all-rounder in the world. It’s official. According to who, you ask? According to maths. You can’t argue with maths.
Well, you can argue with maths, but it takes ages and you’ll get confused and bored, so why bother? Just take it on trust. Shakib al Hasan is effing mint.
We said Shakib al Hasan would be great six months before he played an international. We’re not quite sure who, but somebody, somewhere, owes us a quid.15 Appeals
How many strings does Shakib Al Hasan’s bow have?
Predictably and disappointingly, he has two strings to his bow: batting and bowling. This is not an especially large number of strings, but it’s two more than we have. We haven’t even got a bow – or if we have, we don’t recognise it.
Shakib’s bowling string has been taking precedence of late, but today his batting string put its floppy, fibrous little hand up and came to the party. We don’t know what kind of party strings have – some sort of binding-things-together bash, presumably.5 Appeals
Shakib al Hasan’s taken five wickets in three Test innings in a row. 5-70 against Sri Lanka follows 5-130 and 6-99 against South Africa.
He’s currently ranked the 27th best one-day bowler and the eighth best one-day all-rounder. The earth can consider itself safe from shattery, nor is it in any danger of being taken by storm or set alight, but it’s all very encouraging for Shakib all the same.5 Appeals
Daniel Vettori took 9-133 in this Test. Shakib al Hasan took 9-116.
Daniel Vettori hit 76 in his second innings. Shakib al Hasan hit 71.
Daniel Vettori hit 55 not out in his first innings. Shakib al Hasan got five.
Daniel Vettori wins. New Zealand win. Shakib al Hasan loses. We say ‘balls’.
It was such a low-key match because of the teams involved and the Test going on elsewhere, but it seems unfair that Vettori’s performance should be so overlooked. Chasing down 317 when your side was bowled out for 171 in the first innings is no mean feat whoever you’re playing and Vettori’s contribution in every single innings was exceptional.
It’s the glasses. Even if you’re having a great day, every bad ball will be greeted with ‘nice bowling, Poindexter’ or somesuch.
Don’t try and tell us that Daniel Vettori isn’t a Poindexter. We should know. We can smell our own.5 Appeals
Shakib al Hasan has played six Tests before this current one against New Zealand, but he hasn’t hit a fifty and before today he was averaging over a hundred with the ball. Not any more.
After Bangladesh recovered from a rocky start to their innings to post a mediocre 245, Shakib set about the New Zealand batting to the tune of 6-31.
Bangladesh need a Test win or two. Near-misses just get chalked up as innings defeats in the minds of cricket’s incognoscenti.3 Appeals