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Talking to de Villiers prompted me to bat at number 3 in the World Cup: Shakib Al Hasan

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Shakib Al Hasan, the talismanic all rounder from Bangladesh, had an amazing run in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup last year, scoring 606 runs including 5 fifties and hundreds against England and West Indies. He also picked up 11 wickets in the tournament. Speaking to Cricbuzz, Shakib mentioned the role of Ab de Villiers during the Bangladesh Premier League, before the World Cup in convincing him to bat at number 3 in the entirety of the Global tournament.

Shakib told Cricbuzz, “I was talking to De Villiers during the BPL before the World Cup. It was just a normal conversation. He told me that at times he has batted late. If he had batted at number three then he could have contributed more to the team and scored more runs. Thinking about the team, he always had to play at four, five, six. His theory was to play in the middle order and score 70-80, which sometimes gives the advantage to the team and sometimes it doesn’t work. But had he batted at three, then he could have scored 100-120 and might have won more.”

He continued, “I thought I would take the centerstage after the fall of two-three wickets and take the team forward. Things were like that in his case too. He was saying at that time, had he batted at three, he could have scored more runs and that would have put less pressure on the next batsman. There are two ways to think, I will not say which is right and which is wrong. The point is, when you make a decision, your intentions are the most important. Since then I have been thinking that as I have batted at the top in the T20s, I thought that I can contribute more to the team through my batting (in ODIs too) which I wasn’t able to do. Then I decided that I want to bat in the top order. We didn’t have anyone specific in this position, so I thought I’d give it a try.”

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Shakib also said that it was a difficult decision to arrive at given that not everyone was in agreement of his new batting position.
”The challenge was much bigger since it was the World Cup. Even the night before the match, I got phone calls, like, sure? Do I have to do it or not? Things were very stressful. When everyone is hesitant, it becomes more difficult for you to make a decision. If everyone is with you, then it is a different matter.”

Shakib is currently serving a ban of 1 year from Cricket imposed by the ICC due to his inability to report a corrupt approach by a bookie during the IPL last year. He was banned in the month of  October last year after he accepted three charges of breaching the global body’s anti-corruption code.He will be free to resume international cricket on October 29 this year.

Shakib contemplated about the same, “I have realised that there are certain things that you just cannot take lightly due to ignorance, and probably that is the biggest lesson I learnt during this time. It is a very difficult time for me because at the back of the mind you always think that I am not playing or not being able to play. The good thing is that I was able to stay with my wife during the birth of our second child.
I could not do that when my first daughter was born and I am trying to be with them in the lockdown. For me making sure that I am not depressed is extremely important as I am locked down in my house.”

After having an amazing run in the previous year’s World Cup, Shakib hopes to pick up again from where he left off once he returns to Cricket.
“First of all, I want to return to the game. I will return to the game after four-five months. No other decision before that. The biggest challenge is to be able to start again from where I had stopped, that is what I’m expecting from myself. Wish I can start from where I ended up. That is the challenge for me, nothing else.”