Bengaluru, June 18: Had he been born in some frontline cricketing nations, Shakib Al Hasan would have been a legend by now.
But the 32-year-old Bangladeshi all-rounder still has to slog it out to earn that place and he is doing it in style on a world stage: the ICC World Cup 2019.
Playing in his fourth World Cup, Shakib on Monday slammed his second hundred of the tournament, also the second on the trot, and this was a successful effort, unlike the previous one against England. The left-hand batsman remained not out on 124 in just 99 balls as Bangladesh chased down the Windies’ 321 with an incredible 51 balls to spare.
With two wins over South Africa and the West Indies, Bangladesh clearly are the dark horses of this tournament. They have five points from as many games at the moment and are still very much in the race for a semi-final spot. If they can make it, Bangladesh will be scripting their best show at the World Cup in 50 overs since making debut.
For Bangladesh to make the semis, Shakib will have to remain relevant throughout. Given the start he has got in this edition (two hundreds and two fifties in four games and five wickets), Shakib now has a golden opportunity to cement his place as one of the best all-rounders the game has seen.
He is the quickest to complete 6,000 runs and 250 wickets in the 50-over format (did it in 202 matches, 92 lesser than his closest Shahid Afridi), a record which is owned by only three other players.
Shakib right up there to challenge the best
It is true that the times of Garfield Sobers or even the glorious quartet of Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Richard Hadlee and Ian Botham did not see the number of ODIs that are played today. But yet, Shakib made it possible despite his injury problems and captaincy concerns.
Playing international cricket since 2006, Shakib has certainly survived the time’s onslaught and another five years will certainly see him going down the history as one of the best all-rounders.
The feat would be even more special since he comes from a side which is still far away from its best days. In such teams, the best performers remain even under more pressure to do it right and regularly. Ask the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan, Brian Lara and Andy Flower.