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ICC World Cup 2019: Shakib Al Hasan: Has he already become the player of the tournament?

Shakib Al Hasan

Bengaluru, June 25: The Bangladesh side playing in ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is one of the most experienced ones at the moment.

A number of their players are playing in their fourth World Cup and one among them is Shakib Al Hasan.

The 32-year-old ace all-rounder is in the form of his life in the tournament, both with the bat and ball.

WC Special | Schedule | Squads

In six games that he has played in the tournament so far, Shakib has scored 476 runs with two centuries and three half-centuries besides picking up 10 wickets. He has already bagged three man of the match awards.

In the game against Afghanistan in Southampton on Monday, Shakib made a rare record of hitting a fifty and taking a fifer, something that even legendary all-rounders haven't been able to accomplish at the World Cup.

The only other cricketer to have this feat is former India cricketer Yuvraj Singh who did so against Ireland in the 2011 edition. Shakib also became the third cricketer to score century and take a five-wicket haul at the World Cup after the legend Kapil Dev (1983) and Yuvraj (2011).

Shakib equals Jayasuriya's feat

Shakib also made another record to be proud of. With his show against Afghanistan, the left-arm cricketer to join an elite club of players to have over 1,000 runs and 30 wickets in the World Cup. In 27 matches, he has now 1,016 runs and 33 scalps. Only one other cricketer has this double and it is former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya, also a left-arm cricketer. In 38 matches, Jayasuriya scored 1,165 runs and took 25 wickets. Jayasuriya was the player of the tournament in the 1996 edition of the showpiece event. Shakib could be another Asian to replicate the feat this time. Shakib's five-wicket haul was also the first-ever by a Bangladeshi bowler at the WC. The figures of five for 29 is also his career best in ODIs.

Shakib, who is in the top 10 list in both batting and bowling in this World Cup, deserves all the credit for this show. The cricketer was struggling with finger injuries even a few months ago and wasn't getting too much of an opportunity in the Indian Premier League (IPL). But the form he has shown in the WC will certainly ensure that he doesn't belong to the reserve bench the next time he appears for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL.

A revelation at No.3

One of the major strategies that has paid off for the Bangladeshis in this World Cup is the decision to promote Shakib to No.3 in the batting order. It was not easy for the cricketer to convince the team management about his desire to bat at that position, especially when former Sri Lanka cricketer Chandika Hathurusingha was Bangladesh's coach.

Shakib's task became easier once Hathurusingha left and he has been trying relentlessly to keep that position his own. Shakib, who has batted mostly at No.5, averages over 58 at the No.3 position at the moment with 1,047 runs from 21 matches. He has scored two hundreds at No.3, both in this World Cup. He has scored 3,852 runs in 125 games at No.5 at a far lower average of around 35.

Promoting players to get the best out of them at the World Cup is not new. In the 1992 World Cup, New Zealand had promoted the beefy Mark Greatbatch as an opener and he had a major impact on the Kiwis' dream run in that tournament. Also, Pakistan captain Imran Khan had brought him up at No.3 at the business end of the 1992 World Cup and delivered in both the semifinal and final of the tournament to gift his country its maiden and only World Cup.

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Story first published: Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 11:08 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 25, 2019
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