In the four times that he has batted so far in the ICC World Cup 2019 in England, Shakib Al Hasan has notched up scores of 75, 64, 121 and 124*. He is now the leading run-scorer of the series with 384 runs in 4 matches at an impressive average of 128 with two hundred and two fifties. This has been a World Cup to savor for the Bangladeshi all-rounder.
In the course of his match-winning 124 against the West Indies at Taunton, Shakib also achieved a magnificent landmark – becoming the fastest man in ODI cricket to reach the double of 6000 runs and 250 wickets. Shakib reached this milestone in his 202nd ODI, 92 ODIs faster than the second one the list – Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi.
To go with his batting performance, Shakib has also been excellent with his left-arm spin in the World Cup, taking five wickets at an economy of 5.84.
Shakib was always a dependable bowler and an impactful batsman. But through most of his career, he has batted at No.5 which hasn’t always allowed him to play with freedom. Things, however, have changed drastically ever since he has been promoted to the No.3 position. Since January 2018, Shakib has performed at the No.3 slot on 17 occasions and has done an outstanding job – collecting 926 runs at an average of 66.14 with two hundred and eight fifties.
Playing at the crucial No.3 position allows Shakib to be free and pace his innings nicely. His cuts through the cover regions are getting him countless fours, and he is attacking down the ground much more effortlessly. Shakib’s dominance has allowed the others in the batting lineup to play with more freedom, and that has helped Bangladesh produce a thumping performance this World Cup where they have taken down South Africa and West Indies already.
For 32-year-old Shakib, this World Cup 2019 is a defining moment of his illustrious career. He has been a warhorse for Bangladesh across all three formats ever since he made his debut way back in 2006. And now he is taking the world by storm.
While he has been hugely successful in the Test format too, it is ODI cricket where Bangladesh wanted him to do well this year. And Shakib has delivered in the best way possible.
He has thus proven once again that he is the best all-rounder in the world at the present moment by some distance. Yes, the likes of Ben Stokes have a lot more flair. But Shakib has been the most consistent all-rounder in world cricket for a long time now.
It appears that Shakib has attained his peak batting form currently. If he can continue in the same vein, he may well take Bangladesh into their second successive ODI World Cup semi-finals.
Even if they fail to do so, however, one cannot disregard Shakib Al Hasan’s outstanding performance this World Cup 2019. He has stood up and made himself count. He has been an inspiration for his team and is already an icon for countless youngsters in his country. And by the time he is done, Shakib Al Hasan would undoubtedly be regarded as one of the true legends of the game.