“The main point is how I can cure the infection because my finger will never get back to 100 per cent normal. There is no chance of soft bone getting repaired again, it will not be completely okay.”
Back in October 2018, with a fragile little finger on his left hand, a dejected and shattered Shakib Al Hasan left to Melbourne, Australia to undergo his second surgery. It was already a miserable year for Bangladesh’s premier all-rounder and it didn’t seem to get any better. The scenes of him lying powerlessly on the bed at the Apollo Hospital in Dhaka is good enough to give shivers even now.
The fans had their hearts in their mouths, their worries weren’t baseless. The 2019 World Cup was approximately seven months away and Shakib was screeching through the pain since the beginning of 2018. The supporters gathered for ‘Milad and Dua’ (prayers) in around 10 mosques, the pictures of which were shared by Shakib’s beloved wife Umme Ahmed Shishir. He was the heart of the nation.
Roar, the wounded Tiger
The entire country would’ve rejoiced after he got released from the Melbourne hospital. In November, Bangladesh had more reasons to cheer as Shakib was picked for the two-Test series against the Windies. The Tiger was badly scarred, but he wasn’t dead. The southpaw clinched the Player of the Series award, which not only manifested his cricketing prowess but also showed his mental stiffness.
Shakib Al Hasan isn’t a mere name, it’s a strong emotion, a ‘source of smile and belief’ for many. Even ODI captain Mashrafe Mortaza understands his importance. “We don’t need to mention the importance of Shakib because every time we went on to play without him we had a difficult experience,” Mashrafe stated after Shakib couldn’t make the cut for the ODI and Test series versus New Zealand earlier this year.
It was another mighty scare as this time around, it was his left ring finger that got fractured. It would’ve added to Shakib’s agony as he was out of cricket in 2018 for around three months. Things got worse for him as, during the Ireland tri-series, he sustained a back muscle spasm injury that made him miss the final. The management wisely didn’t take the risk of playing him keeping in mind the World Cup.
Cometh the hour, cometh the Tiger
After all the hurdles, Shakib would’ve considered himself lucky to play the mega event. What panned out thereafter even the veteran wouldn’t have predicted. With every passing match, he kept outclassing himself and kept growing in stature. The Tigers ended with three wins and Shakib walked away with the Player of the Match every time. There were times when he showed intent while waging a lone battle.
He isn’t the torchbearer of Bangladesh cricket for no reason. When the national team bowed out of the tournament, Shakib was the leading run-scorer with 606 runs at 86.57. This World Cup was has been a peak of his career as Shakib’s lowest score was 41. In fact, he crossed the 50-run mark seven times, equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s record created in 2003.
Had Bangladesh played even the semis, there was a great chance of Shakib to surpass Sachin’s record of most runs in a single World Cup edition (673). However, he outnumbered Sachin by 20 runs, scoring the most runs in the league stage of the extravaganza. Not to forget that he was the first Tigers’ bowler with a fifer in the history of the mega event when he achieved the feat against Afghanistan in Southampton.
What’s next for the Tiger?
Having notched 1,146 runs and picking up 34 wickets, Shakib is the nation’s highest run-getter and wicket-taker in the World Cup by a fair distance. He is 32 years old and Bangladesh may be lucky to get his services even in the 2023 edition of the tournament in India. However, his body has been through a tussle over quite some time now and it’ll be interesting to see if he is able to continue for that long.
Captain Mashrafe has played with seven surgeries on his knees and Shakib can definitely take a leaf out of his skipper’s book. For the time being, Shakib is an unstoppable force and is expected to take numerous other records apart as he encounters more hurdles. Hard to say whether Bangladesh deserved to play the semi-final or not, but there’s no doubt that Shakib did, without a shred of a doubt.
Parallels of the song ‘Hall of Fame’, released back in 2012, by Irish pop rock band ‘The Script’ can very well be drawn to Shakib’s glorious career, donning the national jersey. Danny O’Donoghue’s inspiring lyrics are good enough to remain etched in the mind forever and so does the dynamic Shakib’s journey at the highest level for Bangladesh.
“Standing in the hall of fame
And the world’s gonna know your name
Cause you burn with the brightest flame
And the world’s gonna know your name,”
And the world undoubtedly knows the name – Shakib Al Hasan.