Shakib Al Hasan was a top draw card for KKR during the IPL 2015 © Getty Images
Shakib Al Hasan was a top draw card for KKR during the IPL 2015 © Getty Images

Shakib Al Hasan is, without a doubt, the greatest cricketer produced by Bangladesh, and is a sight to behold. The star-all-rounder will be a key figure during the all-important series against India, not only because of his all-round skills but also because of his stint in the recent Indian Premier League (IPL). Amit Banerjee explores further on the topic. ALSO READ: Bangladesh should be realistic and hope for draw against India: Mashrafe Mortaza

Bangladesh await India in the one-off Test at Fatullah on Wednesday with an aim of improving their poor record against their neighbours; a rain-washed solitary draw being the only non-defeat they have registered till date against India. Bangladesh will be desperate to get the monkey off their backs, and Shakib Al Hasan would be one of the key figures in Bangladesh’s pursuit of the same. ALSO READ: India vs Bangladesh 2015 one-off Test at Fatullah Preview

Shakib’s rise in international cricket, topping the ICC all-rounder rankings across formats at one stage, has resulted in him getting a huge fan-following in the cricket-mad country. Shakib is everything that a successful person can be; he is the most glamorous of all Bangladeshi cricketer, the man with the highest brand value in the country; he and his wife Umme Ahmed Shishir are arguably the most talked-about couple in Bangladesh. READ: Bangladesh have no chance of defeating India in the one-off Test at Dhaka

Though he has had some competition from within the team in terms of individual brilliance from the likes of Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah, Shakib has had hardly to worry about a spot in the team, barring the one occasion when he decided to collide head-on with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).

Individual brilliance aside, the biggest weapon that Shakib can use to his advantage is his stint in IPL, where he has played aside some of the biggest names in Indian cricket and has learnt the tricks of the trade when it comes to breaking through the Indian defences.

In the 38 matches he has played for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in IPL as well as in Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20), Shakib has scored 428 runs and taken 39 wickets, a decent record by any length. Though he was not at his destructive best during the IPL 2015, he somewhat made up for it by scoring three half-centuries and maintaining a tight economy with the ball during the matches against Pakistan.

One of the biggest impacts that IPL has had on world cricket is the ability of cricketers to understand the tactics of other teams on an international level by virtue of playing alongside each other. One can relate that to Shakib, who played for KKR in IPL 8 alongside Umesh Yadav, who is currently practising in the nets ahead of the first Test. The impact of practising alongside rival players for city-based T20 leagues might show if Shakib is able to tackle Umesh, and get the better of him.

Bangladesh are certainly not easy pushovers in the upcoming series, the 3-0 One-Day International (ODI) whitewash bearing testimony to the fact. The members of the squad however, especially the inexperienced youngsters, can benefit somewhat, if not greatly, from the tips that Shakib can offer about what the Indian style of cricket is all about, and the ways to tackle it.

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)