Bangladesh Cricket will start life after Shakib when the first Twenty20 International gets underway against the Men in Blue at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Sunday, November 03.
Shakib Al Hasan- the heartbeat of Bangladesh cricket- was handed a two-year backdated suspension following his failure to report the approaches by the bookies on three separate occasions during the course of three different tournaments to the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.
‘We loved Shakib, still love Shakib’ – Mahmudullah
Following Shakib’s suspension, a lot of former cricketers like Michael Vaughan have been vocal against the leniency in the punishment handed to Bangladesh all-rounder but the cricket-loving country is not yet ready to turn their back on their champion all-rounder, an emotion echoed by the current skipper and long-time teammate of Al-Hasan, Mahmudullah.
Speaking to the media ahead of the first Twenty20 International against India in Delhi, the Bangladeshi skipper admitted that Shakib “made a mistake” but at the same time asserted that the champion cricketer “has not made a crime”. Mahmudullah reckoned that Shakib will be welcomed with a tight hug when he enters the dressing room again following the expiration of his backdated suspension.
“Let me tell you. We loved Shakib, still love Shakib and will continue loving Shakib. And when he comes back, he will be welcomed with open arms. When he enters the dressing room, we will all give him a tight hug,” the Bangladesh skipper said as quoted by Outlook India.
A tough road ahead
With Shakib’s issue done and dusted, Bangladesh will have to move on, something that Mahmudullah admitted during the press conference. Shakib’s ban ends on October 29, 2020, which means he will not be available for the T20 World Cup in Australia and the Asian Tigers, who are currently ranked ninth in the world will have to play the qualifiers to qualify for the Super-12 and Manhmudullah feels that they will need to focus on the inconsistency aspect of their batting.
“That’s an issue that has gone by. We are focussing on playing tomorrow and win the game. Probably, it will be a proper opportunity for the younger guys to show up and stand up for the Bangladesh team. We have been exposed every now and then. We can give enough runs or foundation to the bowlers to prove themselves,” he said.
The first T20I between India and Bangladesh starts in Delhi on November 03.
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