By Faisal Caesar
Over the last week, the hottest topic in town has been the arrogant behaviour of Bangladeshi youth icon Shakib Al Hasan. Bangladesh media is hinting at a change in captaincy which, according to me, isn’t the solution.
In 2009, the cricketing world discovered a smiling boy from Magura rising to the top of ICC ODI rankings and also claiming a place in the ICC Test bowling rankings. He displayed the character of a champion and the vision of a leader and in course of time brought success to Bangladesh cricket.
Shakib gave Bangladesh cricket the new idea of high-performance programme to be reinstated and his ideas about first-class structure were encouraging. He is a rare breed personality who doesn’t hesitate to be self-critical after getting a four-wicket haul or after scoring a half-century by saying he should have gone on to score a hundred. Shakib’s dynamism comes like a breath of fresh air to Bangladesh cricket - an icon for the next generation
If there is one thing disturbing about Shakib it’s his off-field actions. Before the start of the Zimbabwe tour he was at loggerheads with the national team selectors and painted them as liars. During the tour, he disallowed the entry of the former captain and now one of the selectors, Habibul Bashar to enter into the dressing room. He got into a tussle with the selectors yet again when he disagreed to include Ashraful in the Test match. Though his own performance is good, he is unable to inspire his men as he is almost aloof.
At 24, Shakib has earned name, fame and money. But the trappings of success have gone into his immature head and made him arrogant. Consequently, it’s affecting the team’s performance.
Srinivasan Narayanan, a cerebral cricket connoisseur and a writer with cricketcountry, opined: “Asian cricket often encounters a double-edged weapon. Boards do not shy away from inducting very young players into international cricket. Yet they do not have a mentoring system in place which helps these young men to deal with success, failure, popularity and criticism and, in general, priorities and long-term approach. To me Shakib's remark only indicates the absence of a good mentoring system. Address the root cause. In good time such incidents as this will get minimized if not eliminated altogether.”
I firmly agree with that. If Shakib’s arrogance is creating a problem for Bangladesh cricket then it’s not something that cannot be solved.
In Bangladesh cricket it was Habibul Bashar who started writing the essay of success in our country and he handled his success with utmost maturity. Shakib might have been arrogant towards him, but as a senior it is also the duty of seniors like Bashar to guide youngsters like Shakib to go on the right path. Confabulation, rather than confrontation, is the way to go about.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) must have a good monitoring system at the grass-root level that will teach young players how to handle the pitfalls of success. They should be exposed to the lives of exemplary cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Imran Khan, Clive Lloyd, Don Bradman and Gary Sobers. They need to be taught about the right attitude while representing the nation as a player.
Shakib is still the best man to lead the Bangladesh cricket team and Bangladesh must to everything to take remedial measures for Shaikb and the team to get on the winning track.
(Faisal Caesar is a doctor by profession whose dream of becoming a cricketer remained a dream. But his passion is very much alive and he translates that passion in writing about the game)