Shakib Al Hasan informed Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday that it would not be possible for him to feature in this edition of the Indian Premier League.
Contrary to reports in the Bangladesh media which suggested that the Kolkata franchise had requested the Bangladesh superstar to reconsider his participation, given the fact that he would not be available for the entire season, Sportstar understands that it was Shakib who reached out to KKR.
Shakib was initially scheduled to join the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise on March 31 after the limited overs series against Ireland, but the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) named him in the squad for the Test series, which begins on Tuesday. And, keeping in mind the fact that he would only be available for barely a fortnight, Shakib decided to skip the IPL, citing ‘international engagements and unavoidable personal reasons’.
Shakib’s compatriot Litton Das is scheduled to join the KKR franchise after April 8, but with a packed international calendar, it needs to be seen what the Bangladesh batter finally decides. Sources close to the cricketer indicated that Das is weighing all options and will make a call in due course of time.
In the absence of Shakib, the Kolkata Knight Riders management will have to look for a replacement and it is waiting for the formal approval from the IPL before naming a substitute.
This is the second blow for KKR in this edition of the IPL after its captain Shreyas Iyer was ruled out of the tournament due to back injury, and was replaced by Nitish Rana as the captain. Shakib was the last pick at the IPL auction in December last year, where he was snapped up at his base price of INR 1.5 crore. Shakib was previously part of KKR’s title-winning campaigns in 2012 and 2014.
The BCB had earlier informed the BCCI that all its players will be available between April 8 and May 1, and accordingly, Mustafizur Rahman - who’s not part of the Test against Ireland - joined Delhi Capitals last week. The franchise was hopeful that Shakib, too, would be available a little early, but that did not happen.
Despite repeated attempts, BCB chief Najmul Hasan Papon wasn’t available for a comment. This publication, however, understands that Shakib could now make himself available for Mohammedan SC in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League tournament. Bangladesh team will travel to England and Ireland for a limited overs series in the first week of May.
KKR lost its opening game by seven runs (DLS method), against Punjab Kings, and will be up against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday. While the team management wants to finalise a replacement for Shakib soon, New Zealand quick Lockie Ferguson is also recovering from a hamstring injury.
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