Player of the fortnight: Shakib Al Hasan

Shakib Al Hasan’s rollicking unbeaten 124, making light of the pressures of the chase of 322, against the West Indies at Taunton, was peppered with some stunning horizontal bat strokes.

Shakib Al Hasan was in rousing form against the West Indies.   -  Reuters

Shakib Al Hasan has been around long enough to comprehend the vicissitudes of form and fortunes. He has battled fitness concerns, been banned after run-ins with authorities, and never quite received the credit he deserved as a world class all-rounder.

He is the undisputed star of this Bangladesh team, a game-changer and a match-winner. When Shakib banishes the demons in his mind, he can be a dangerous adversary.

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And the 32-year-old southpaw has been running hot in the World Cup, altering scripts with his solidity and flair.

At the end of the match against Australia, Shakib had a whopping 425 runs in five innings at a staggering 106.25 with two hundreds.

And Shakib’s five wickets have come at a handy economy rate of 6.18 on essentially surfaces favouring batting. He is a clever left-arm spinner, harnesses the angles capably, has wily pace variations.

With the willow, Shakib has been playing at another level. Batting at No. 3 has provided him more time and space to construct an innings.

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His numbers in this World Cup, where he has had to adjust to the English pitches walking in at No. 3, when there is bound to be some swing and movement off the seam, have been outstanding.

Shakib made 75 in a winning cause against South Africa at the Oval. He followed this with a valuable 64 at the same venue, in a game Bangladesh lost narrowly to New Zealand.

Then, Shakib conjured an innings of 121 at the expense of a probing English attack in Cardiff. He was striking the ball with the sweet portion of the willow, finding the gaps.

Shakib’s batting is a blend of timing and footwork. He has a slight trigger movement forward but is strong off the back-foot with cuts and pulls.

His rollicking unbeaten 124, making light of the pressures of the chase of 322, against the West Indies in Taunton, was peppered with some stunning horizontal bat strokes.

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The West Indian quicks bounced at Shakib and he responded with rousing cuts, hooks and pulls. And Bangladesh nailed a famous chase.

Shakib, indeed, is at the heart of Bangladesh’s campaign.