Coach Rhodes hails ‘tactician’ Shakib on successful comeback
Shakib Al Hasan went past Ian Botham's record. (AFP Image)

Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes is high on praise for captain Shakib Al Hasan for marking a successful return to international cricket. Shakib, whose complicated finger injury had ruled him midway through the Asia Cup and forced him to miss the series against Zimbabwe, recovered in time to return for the first Test against West Indies. And the allrounder had a decent outing scoring 34 and picking up three wickets on the match as Bangladesh defeated West Indies by 64 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

“I think the one thing to talk about the last Test which is really important for me is that I want to pay tribute to Shakib,” Rhodes said on Sunday. “That is an amazing effort that he did (play the game).

Rhodes was particularly impressed with how little time Shakib had to prepare himself for the match. During the match, Shakib claimed his 200th wicket in Test cricket, becoming the first Bangladesh cricketer to the landmark. In his 54th Test, Shakib had Kieran Powell stumped for the milestone on Saturday during the third day’s play against West Indies in Chittagong. This made Shakib the fastest allrounder to achieve the double of 3000 runs and 200 wickets in Tests, beating England legend Ian Botham’s record by one match.

“He only had two or three hits in the net, you can see he is not quite as physically as well as he could be. He was brilliant on the field as captain. And yet, mentally he is not quite right. To me, it was an amazing effort. He did it for Bangladesh. He did it for the whole nation. He wanted to beat the Windies. He is an important part of our team because he is the captain,” Rhodes added.

As Bangladesh helped themselves to an early lead in the series, Rhodes believes Shakib will be much better placed mentally and physically heading into the second Test in Mirpur.

“He is a great tactician and he played his part and he will be better for running going into the next Test match,” said Rhodes. “He is maybe a little bit more ready. He has had a little bit of time in the middle. He has had some overs under his belt. He has got back in the spring of using his brain for captaincy.”