Shakib Al Hasan

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2019: dominates WC

Gaurav Gupta, June 26, 2019: The Times of India

Shakib Al Hasan’s highs in the 2019 WC
From: Gaurav Gupta, June 26, 2019: The Times of India

How Shakib’s dream Cup run took off in India

Bangladesh Allrounder Worked On Fitness & Batting With Childhood Coach Salahuddin In Hyderabad During IPL


Few players have dominated a World Cup the way Shakib Al Hasan is doing at the moment. On Monday, he became only the second player after India’s Yuvraj Singh to take five wickets (5-29) and score a fifty (51 off 69 balls) in a World Cup game, helping Bangladesh to a 62-run win at Southampton.

During the game, he wrested back his rightful slot as the top run-scorer of the tournament. He now has 476 in six games at a fabulous average of 95.20, with two hundreds and three fifties. In the top wicket-takers’ chart, he’s at No. 9, with 10 wickets@30.10.

It seems, there is nothing Shakib can’t do in England. His amazing performance has left even his personal coach, Mohammad Salahuddin – who has been mentoring the 32-year-old since 2006 – in awe of Shakib’s dream run.

“I expected him to do well in the World Cup because he prepared so well for it. But the way he’s performed beyond my expectations. I mean, to be the highest run-getter (in the WC so far) ... you see the first five names… they are all big. That makes me really happy,” Salahuddin told TOI from Dhaka.

His favourite knock was the century against England in a losing cause. “England have a good attack, which he handled well.” Batting at No. 3 since the past year, Shakib has scored 1047 runs in 21 games@58.16, with two hundred and nine fifties. “Batting at that spot has made him a better player. Now, he gets more time, instead of at No. 5 or 6, where he would have to soon go ‘boom boom’. He was a No. 3 batsman when he was with our under-19 and under-17 teams. However, in the Bangladesh team, he didn’t get to bat at that slot initially,” said Salahuddin.

The coach revealed that it’s the hard work that Shakib put in on his fitness during the IPL which is paying off now. “I think this is all about his dedication and desire. For a couple of months before the IPL, he didn’t play much cricket as he was injured. During the IPL too, he wasn’t a regular member of the Sunrisers Hyderabad team. That kept him fresher, and instilled the hunger in him to do something. This is why he put in a lot of hard work with his trainer. He has reduced plenty of weight. That has made him a better cricketer.”

With an eye on the World Cup, Shakib requested Salahuddin, an ex-assistant and fielding coach of the national team, to come to Hyderabad during the IPL this year. “I went there for 10 days. We worked on his game. He told me: ‘I don’t know if I’ll get the wickets or runs, but I want to prepare in the best possible way for this World Cup’,” recalled the coach.

The coach recalled an interesting conversation in Hyderabad with VVS Laxman, who’s currently the mentor of SRH. “I asked VVS how can our players like Shakib and Tamim (Iqbal) go beyond the current level, break the barrier. He told me: ‘You cannot do much with these players, because they’ve already played 11-12 years of international cricket. They are experienced. have performed well too. But if Shakib has called you here, it means he wants to become a better player. It’s a sign that he’s motivated to do it.’ That encouraged me too,” said Salahuddin.

“Laxman told me that these players can sometimes not be motivated enough, because they’re playing so much under pressure. They can’t give time to the family, they’re just playing continuously. So sometimes, they become a bit bored, jaded. In that phase, they don’t want to train. But if Shakib wants to do it, it’s a sign that he still has the motivation.”

Elaborating on how he trained Shakib for the World Cup, Salahuddin said: “He prepared himself for what he is facing now face in this tournament. He knew that in English conditions, he’ll face a lot of bouncers. Normally, he’s a good puller of the ball, but he worked a lot on facing short deliveries. For that, we would throw the ball to him from an 18-yard distance. We worked on his hand speed also. We tried some drills. We bowled to him with a heavier ball, which the SRH assistant coach gave me. That drill helped him improve his bat speed.”

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