Shakib Al Hasan's redemption at IPL21?
Ross wonders if an IPL franchise will pick up Shakib Al Hasan this season and give him the chance to add to the IPL's rich tapestry of drama
After publishing and discussing our views on each IPL team’s auction strategy following the night of the long knives - or as its more commonly known, the IPL’s release and retention extravaganza - I realised we may have missed out a player or two from consideration. Without the benefit of an official IPL21 auction player list we pressed forward and made assumptions based on the players on the release lists. But there is one man, having recently made a cricketing comeback, that I can’t help but think would be on at least four of the team’s target lists ahead of the IPL auction on February 18th. That man is Shakib Al Hasan.
Yes, he’s just come back from a ban and, yes, he’s an idiot for failing to report being approached to fix matches. Yes, he should have known better. But this is the IPL. The same IPL that has its own sordid history of corruption as well as an honourable ability to forgive and forget as long as the product continues to offer the drama we all lap up. Let’s not forget a certain Indian fast bowler whose name has been doing the rounds in IPL auction circles recently.
Shakib’s slow left-armers and his ability to handle himself well with the willow have earned him a podium place on the all-time list of T20 players, with over 5,000 runs and 350 wickets. His IPL career to-date has spanned eight seasons where he’s played in 63 matches, hitting 746 runs at an average of 21 and a strike rate of 126 and taking 59 wickets @ 28, with an impressive economy rate under 7.5 an over. It is a decent track record and one that comes with a champion’s medal from his time with Kolkata Knight Riders.
At 33 years old, the Bangladeshi international would not only add quality in both disciplines but also bring a belly full of experience, as well as the determination that should come after a year out of the game. These traits were demonstrated perfectly by his recent ODI performances against the West Indies which earned him the player of the series award. There may be a limited number of spots up for grabs across the franchises, but with COVID-19 restrictions and the required bio-bubble life, some teams may well be faced with a more limited player pool, and since there’s only one Glenn Maxwell available, an alternative spinning all rounder should prove popular, particularly someone with Shakib’s experience and pedigree.
When Shakib’s name inevitably comes up at the IPL21 auction, do not be surprised to see the Rajasthan Royals, CSK, KXIP and his old employers KKR all interested in his services, as they’d all benefit from just having him in their squads, never mind starting eleven. There is even the possibility that current champions Mumbai Indians could be interested in what he has to offer as he definitely brings more to the table than Nathan Coulter-Nile ever could. Shakib returning to the IPL fold is exactly the kind of juicy drama that keeps us coming back for more: bring on the auction!
Thanks for reading…
Over the coming weeks we’ll be covering England’s tour of India and keeping you up to date with all things IPL on The Cricket Podcast. You can listen on Apple, Spotify, YouTube and on all other podcast providers.