Shakib Al Hasan, the premium spin bowling all-rounder who plays in the national cricket team of Bangladesh will be batting at the no. 3 in the upcoming series against Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka tour of Bangladesh is set to begin on the 23rd of May, 2021, and will consist of three one-day international matches. Shakib Al Hasan has been one of the mainstays of the Bangladesh cricket team for the past few decades and has often been referred to as one of the best all-rounders in world cricket. He is equally good with both the bat and the ball. He bats left-handed and is a left-arm orthodox spinner. Let us have a look at what this decision exactly spells for the Bangladesh cricket team.
The batting order
Shakib did not occupy the no.3 spot in the past few matches. In his comeback series against West Indies, Shakib played lower down the order on the insistence of coach Russel Domingo. Domingo preferred having experienced batsmen in the middle order and thus Shakib was pushed to the fourth spot in the batting order despite having a fantastic record batting at he no. 3 spot. However, Nazmul Hossain failed to perform well at the no. 3 spot in the series against West Indies. He was replaced by Soumya Sarkar in the series against New Zealand.
The Bangladeshi selectors however have decided to go back to Shakib for the series again owing to his brilliant performances. They have stated that they feel that it is the best spot for him. The same feeling has been shared by Shakib himself and he is quite keen on occupying the third spot in the batting order. Shakib was not given any 3 spots against West Indies for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it was his first international cricket series after one year. He was away due to a one-year ban. Secondly, they wanted him to have some breathing space and he was okay batting at number four. The captain, Tamim Iqbal had made it clear that Shakib was changing his position in the batting order for the greater good of the team. However, it was also stated that he could go back to his number three spot if need be.
Shakib as no. 3
Shakib has been a phenomenal no. 3 batsman, especially in ODI cricket. His tryst with the no. 3 spot began when he was promoted to the spot during the 2019 World Cup which was played in England. He put up a phenomenal performance as the no. 3 batsman and scored 606 runs at an enviable average of 86.57. This included two centuries and five half-centuries. Shakib has had a fantastic record as a no. 3 batsman as well in ODI cricket. He has scored 1177 runs at a an average of 58.58. These numbers prove how good he is as a no. 3 batsman.
The upcoming series
The Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka is bound to be a good series. The Sri Lankan cricket team are already in Bangladesh and the matches shall be held on the 23rd, 25th and 28th of May at the Sher-e-Bangla cricket stadium of Dhaka. The Sri Lankan cricket team are supposed to begin their training sessions at the National Cricket Academy on the 19th of May 2021.
These matches shall be preceded by a practice match which will be held on the 21st of May, 2021. These matches shall not be having in-person attendance owing to the pandemic. Bangladesh will still be in lockdown when the matches shall be taking place due to the rapid spread of the virus in the second wave. Bangladesh is well-placed in this series. It has a better record in ODIs over Sri Lanka and has a better ranking too. To add to this is the home advantage. Shakib’s promotion to the no.3 spot shall also act as a significant booster. The Sri Lankans shall be leaving Bangladesh on the 29th of May.
Over the years, Shakib Al Hasan has become one of the biggest names of Bangladeshi cricket. He has been a part of the team for more than one and a half decades and his dedication and zeal for performing well is unquestioned. His reappointment to the number three spot shall be a relief for many of his fans. It will strengthen the cricket team of Bangladesh and will create an avenue for bettering the competition with Sri Lanka.