Shakib Al Hasan’s genius for compartmentalizing his life on and off the pitch

Shakib Al Hasan waits until the late 35th of Bangladesh’s innings during Saturday’s first ODI against Ireland to alter the course of the game. Offspinner Harry Tector comes around the wicket, Shakib comes down to sweep the first ball, off the stump, into a boundary. Then he flips it over cover, then sweeps again and slices past a point, for three more fours. Shakib ends the over by bowling Tector long-off for the fifth four. Bangladesh innings turn the corner decisively for a total of over 300. Shakib heads towards a century.

He fails to make it, but leaves a big enough impact for the team’s score to rise to 338 for 8, their highest ODI total. Shakib then breaks Ireland’s early 60-run stand before the other Bangladesh bowlers seize the advantage and the hosts also pick up their biggest win of the format.

During the innings break, BCB chairman of cricket operations Jalal Yunus answers questions about Shakib’s whereabouts between the England and Ireland series. This is where Shakib divides opinions.

Specifically, Shakib’s appearance in Dubai to open a shop is in the spotlight. Bangladeshi security authorities claimed that Shakib ignored their warning about the owner being investigated by police in a murder case. Yunus said he will investigate whether this “commercial activity” contradicts the BCB’s contract with him, but they are aware that Shakib will train on 17 March in Sylhet.

A week earlier, Shakib went to open another shop, in Chattogram, after the third T20I against England. He had just led Bangladesh to a historic 3-0 victory against the world champions. Shakib has been at the top of his game throughout the series. Hours after the third game, on March 9, he had to fight his way through a large crowd to get to his car after the store opened. In the confusion, someone tried to grab his cap. Footage shows that Shakib not only grabbed the cap back, but tried to hit the person a few times.

In January, Shakib made scathing remarks about the BPL that no player, coach or team owner has ever dared to make against the tournament. He followed up by attacking the referees twice in the first week, only being punished for the second infraction. Shakib ended the BPL with 375 runs and 10 wickets.

“He stays in his bubble [on the field]. He has a generally very positive mindset. He doesn’t look back. It’s purely a mental skill. It cannot be taught or trained.”

Nazmul Abedeen Fahim, Shakib’s coach since school days

There are more instances of Shakib bouncing smoothly between big performances, giant controversies and scandals. He compartmentalizes the two big aspects of his life: on and off the pitch. The two live dangerously close to each other, but this has left many perplexed as to how he manages to keep the two apart.

Nazmul Abedeen Fahim, who has worked closely with Shakib since his school days and most recently was his coach with Fortune Barishal in the BPL, said that the way in which Shakib separates aspects of life on and off the pitch is entirely up to the player. of cricket is doing. He cannot be trained in this aspect.

“It’s a pretty amazing look,” Fahim said. “He probably puts himself in a bubble that keeps outside factors at bay. He’s got that in him. He can change at the last moment. But once he’s on the pitch, he’s at his best from nowhere. We’ve seen that many times.” He stays in his bubble. He has a generally very positive mindset. He doesn’t look back. It’s purely a mental skill. It can’t be taught or trained.”

Last year, Shakib’s business interests and decision to (not) tour certain countries caused a lot of friction between him and the BCB. On both occasions he had to yield. Shakib also withdrew its sponsorship of a betting company (masquerading as a sports website) after the BCB pulled it. This was before the 2022 Asian Cup and T20 World Cup season, when he was on the verge of being named the new captain. Bangladesh had its best T20 World Cup to date, with Shakib leading the team in a new direction in the format.

Two years ago, Shakib kicked and threw the stumps in an extraordinary burst during a Dhaka Premier League (one-day domestic competition) match. It didn’t take long for him to recover from that incident as well.

One of the reasons Shakib recovers quickly from these incidents is the leniency with which the BCB has treated him over the years. Only last year did the board actually make him travel when he refused to do so or banned him from signing a business partnership that went against board policy. Yet for the stump-throwing incident, he was only suspended for three games. On many occasions over the years, the BCB reduced Shakib’s punishment or completely ignored his controversies.

It is equally likely that your encounter with the Dubai store owner will first be swept under the rug and then forgotten by the public and media alike. If that happens, it will serve as yet another example of Shakib getting away with just a slap on the wrist. Or is it another example of Shakib deftly compartmentalizing his life on and off the field?

He never allows one to interfere with the other. As a great all-rounder, Shakib often covers a batting gap with a bowling masterclass. When it comes to his off-field incidents, he tops it off smoothly with an on-field performance that draws everyone’s attention.

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