DHAKA, Shakib Al Hasan shot to the limelight, leading Bangladesh to a 40 win over New Zealand in a fivematch ODI series against New Zealand in 2010 (one match was abandoned due to rain).
In that series, he led the side from the front as captain and performed with both batting and bowling, which was instrumental in claiming the No.1 allrounder in ODI rankings for the first time in his career.
However, he actually established him as a genuine allrounder against this side also when New Zealand toured Bangladesh for a bilateral series in 2008. Shakib who was predominantly a batsman, started bowling his leftarm spin seriously as advised by the then coach Jamie Siddons and it proved to be gold. He claimed 736 in an innings of Test match and kept Bangladesh on track of winning until Daniel Vettori played the innings of his life to force it a draw.
So, New Zealand are a team that Shakib got particularly to his likings and it is no fluke. He scored 575 runs and claimed 35 wickets against the Kiwis in 21 ODIs. He struck two centuries against them in ODI cricket, spoke a volume of his performance. But stat actually doesn't matter, what matters is that Shakib played some match winning innings against Kiwis to prove him their nemesis.
Last time Shakib encountered New Zealand, he produced a masterful century and alongside Mahmumudullah Riyad who also struck a century, Shakib helped the side recover from 334 to beat Kiwis by five wickets and led the side to the ICC Champions Trophy semifinal.
Last time when New Zealand met Bangladesh, Shakib was not the part of the team due to his finger injury. A Shakibless Bangladesh was whitewashed in threematch ODI series.
But this time Shakib is there and will be playing his 200th ODI as only the third Bangladeshi player after Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Mushfiqur Rahim. And no other team is better to play the landmark match than Kiwis against whom he has some remarkable performance. As he came off with a sterling allround performance against South Africa that saw his team beat the Proteas by 21 runs in World Cup opener, expectation was high on Shakib on his milestone match.
His wellcomposed 75 helped steered Bangladesh to their highest oneday international total of 330 6 before the spinner took 150 to restrict South Africa to 3098.
That wicket made Shakib only the fifth player after Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya, South African Jacques Kallis, and Pakistan pair Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq to reach the landmark of 5,000 runs and 250 wickets in ODIs. But he did it faster than those four legends.
So he peaks the scale high, forcing people to pin high hopes on him. As Bangladesh take on New Zealand on his 200th ODI, can he make it remarkable?
Whether he can do it or not, the Kiwis were scared of him before the match.
The 32yearold's next challenge comes at the Oval against a New Zealand side who crushed Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in their opening match.
We know how they can play and Shakib does add a lot more to the balance of their side as well, New Zealand senior batsman Ross Taylor said.
Bangladesh team manager Khaled Mahmudu Sujon saw how Shakib practiced hard
in those days to make him fit and consistent in run making and taking wickets. He believed Shakib can do such sort of performance every now and then.
He has always been a big cricketer, but his seriousness in the last few months has been outstanding. It's not just fitness; his involvement in the team is amazing, the way he is working hard, Sujon said.
Let me just relate something he did in practice the day before yesterday. He was taking a breather, and the players needed water and he ran towards them with the water. This is what I am saying one of the senior players in the team these small changes really catch the eye, he said.
He does not say it, but I think Shakib wants to become the man of the series in this tournament, that is what I believe seeing the way he has prepared himself in the last six months fitnesswise, attitudewise everything. He spends a lot of time on batting. Maybe at one time Shakib used to bat or bowl, or bowl one over and then leave the nets, but now he is very serious. Everyone, including the youngsters, are working very hard, he added.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)