POST TIME: 7 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Fresh doubts over Shakib fitness
The ace all-rounder claims him unfit, while Rhodes differs
Sports Reporter

Fresh doubts over Shakib fitness

Shakib Al Hasan

While Shakib Al Hasan suddenly claimed him 20-30 percent fit to play even though the team management included him in Asia Cup-bound team after getting his nod, head coach Steve Rhodes said he doesn’t believe the fitness issue the ace all-rounder raises.

Rhodes however even claimed that Shakib is lot fitter than what he was in the past.

"I don't believe he is 20-30 per cent fit. I think he is a lot fitter than that,” said Rhodes. “That sort of statement has hit the headline. I am pretty sure Shakib is a lot fitter than that. He is in no real different state to the state in West Indies, where he played some fantastic cricket with bat, ball and in the field.”

"Everybody knows that he does need the operation. He has made that decision after speaking to the BCB president. Asia Cup is very important to Bangladesh. Even if Shakib was 60-70 percent fit, you'd get a lot of cricket out of Shakib Al Hasan."

The team management earlier included him in the team given his word that the time off from the cricket did a magic on him as he felt no severe pain on his injured little finger that requires operation to be healed completely.

The doctors were also in opinion that a professional player could play with such pain but the important factor is that he should not play if he feels uncomfortable.

However Shakib’s recent comment on his fitness put the board in awkward situation, claimed board director Jalal Younus.

"The board is put in an awkward and embarrassing situation," Younus said. "He didn't tell us when the selection was being finalised, or at any other time. It would have been better if he had told us that he was 20-30 percent fit earlier. He didn't say that he can't play."

However Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza wasn’t as straight forward as Rhodes or Jalal Younus regarding Shakib but he was in opinion that even a half fit Shakib could make difference.

"Since he played in the West Indies, I am sure he'd know his exact situation," Mashrafe said. "His performance was very useful for winning there. I think it is more than enough if his fitness is at that level. But we can't do anything about it. He took the decision and since he will play, I am sure he will give his 100 percent.”

Shakib is currently on vacation in the United States, and the BCB indicated he would be travelling from there to the UAE for the Asia Cup, and that Mominul Haque will be sent as cover for him.

Rhodes said Shakib missing the training camp in Dhaka wouldn't affect his performance. "It doesn't make an impact on the rest of the team. Shakib is really, really respected by the rest of his colleagues in the dressing room. The time-off with family, I think it is important that everybody realises that Shakib plays a lot of cricket. He doesn't just bat. He bowls and fields and captains as well. He plays all formats.

"In making sure Shakib is playing at his best and freshest, we can give him opportunities to be with his family. It will make him a better player. He has done all the practice when he was younger. He did it out in the middle, bowling 50 overs every innings in Tests. It is not too necessary that he practices all the time. He showed in the Caribbean without much practice what a quality cricketer he can be."