DHAKA : Going by performance and consistency alone Shakib Al Hasan and Abdur Razzak would be the top names for Bangladesh in international cricket. However, both had felt a need to prove something to their own selves when the Grameenphone Cup series against Zimbabwe got underway.
Shakib has been a dominating presence as an allrounder in world cricket in both Test and one-dayers during the last year and a half but hadn’t played any cricket of note for two months prior to the Zimbabwe games as he nursed a nagging groin injury. Razzak had recovered from a hamstring strain that had kept him out a bit longer than Shakib but could not train with the team until the last moment as he had been preoccupied with a family emergency. The lack of match fitness for both meant pressure from within to do justice to their reputation.
Razzak started better than Shakib and was the pick of the bowlers in the first ODI where he snapped three wickets in the first over he had bowled and then followed that up with his career-best 5/29 in the second match. Shakib on the other hand appeared jittery in the first outing. However all doubts regarding the Bangladesh captain were swiftly put to rest with bowling figures of 9-1-21-1 and a spanking 69-ball 105 in the Tigers’ seven-wicket win on Thursday. This is how they looked at their respective contribution:
SHAKIB AL HASAN
Whether he was aware that he had become the second Bangladeshi batsman after Mohammad Ashraful to cross the 2000-run mark in ODIs during his innings
Well, I was very much aware that I was 90-odd shy of 2000 before the series started. I got 13 in the first match and yesterday it was a personal target to cross the mark. I would be very happy if by this time next year I can complete 3000 ODI runs. That’s a goal.
How important was this century?
Very important from a team perspective. We were under a bit of pressure with three wickets going down for almost no addition to the total. When you are 44 without loss in 3.5 overs it is criminal to throw wickets away and become three down for 56. I would have been mighty pleased if Tamim (Iqbal), Zunaed (Siddique) or Ash (Mohammad Ashraful) had got a hundred because the stage was set for them.
Personally I am delighted to be back. I guess I lost the plot and my game plan a bit since scoring the hundred in Bulawayo. I was rushing things too much. But this innings went exactly like I had planned until I was 70-odd and then maybe I got a bit carried away (laughs).
On Razzak’s performance
It’s fantastic news for Bangladesh cricket that he is back to his best. He had been our main bowler but he also has had his fair share of struggles with injury and action. Now he is looking even better and as a fellow left-arm spinner my job is to keep supporting him as he is the man of the moment. I hope he continues to perform at this standard.
On his stellar comeback performance
This is a very important series for me due to a lot of reasons. I couldn’t have asked for a better start but the main thing for me would be to help the team win the series.
On his changed action
I am so pleased with it. There were apprehensions in the beginning but it has come out so very well. I had worked for months with coach Salah Uddin on the new action. Jamie (Siddons), the selectors, coaching staff, team management and my fellow players have all supported me and kept faith in me.
The ball is now gripping very well and the whole bowling motion starting from the run up to the release feels comfortable, almost as if it is programmed. The ball is landing exactly where I want it to.
What it feels like to become the team’s number one bowler again
Obviously I am honoured but with that tag comes responsibility. The team counts on you and therefore you have to be at the top of your game and concentrate all the time. I know I have to deliver every time I take the field.