Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan. Credit: Twitter

Bangladesh ace Shakib Al Hasan is set to return to action as soon as his ban ends on October 29. Just a couple of months after his heroics in last year’s World Cup, the Bangladesh star was banned from all forms of the game for two years in October.

One year of that term is suspended as he was punished for breaching ICC’s Anti-corruption Code. And Bangladesh will waste absolutely no time in recalling Shakib Al Hasan straightaway to their squad as soon as he becomes eligible to play again. Bangladesh’s tour of Sri Lanka is likely to be the series where the allrounder makes his much-anticipated return.

Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan (Credits: Getty)

The tour is all but confirmed and given how the tour schedule is shaping up, it is more than likely that Shakib Al Hasan will at least feature in the proposed three-match T20I series. According to SLC chief executive Mohan de Silva, the two boards have reached an agreement on Bangladesh’s departure date, but they are still in discussions over whether it will be a two or three-match Test series after the BCB requested a three-match T20I series in addition to the original tour schedule.

Earlier this week, de Silva said Bangladesh’s departure date, September 24, is nearly confirmed but the boards are still a couple of days away from finalising the tour schedule.

“It is more or less [finalized],” de Silva told the Dhaka-based TV channel Maasranga. “We are actually negotiating. They [BCB] want to play three T20Is and three Tests. So we are actually negotiating with them to reduce one Test and then play the T20Is. We will be able to confirm it within a day or two.”

Shakib Al Hasan for Sri Lanka tour:

Shakib Al Hasan will resume his training at the BKSP – Bangladesh’s largest sporting institute – from next month. Head coach Russell Domingo has said Shakib’s return will depend on his fitness levels and possibly some match-time under his belt. At the same time, Domingo compared Shakib’s year-long break from cricket with the current Bangladesh players also missing out on action for more than six months because of the pandemic.

“I think Shakib being out for a year is not that much different to the rest of our squad who have been out for six or seven months as well,” Domingo told ESPNcricinfo.

“We are hoping all the players are fit. Obviously, there are standards that they need to attain in terms of fitness level. We have to organize a bit of game time for Shakib, as well as for all the players. It is very difficult to get into international cricket without any sort of cricket. I think we need to try to find some opportunities for him to play some games. He is a world-class player so I am sure he will get back into it pretty soon, but fitness is an important thing,” he added.

Russell Domingo, Charles Langeveldt
Russell Domingo with Charles Langeveldt (Credits: Twitter)

He further said that Shakib Al Hasan needs to play unofficial cricket matches as a suspended cricketer before stating that his selection would depend on his fitness regime and net practice during the next couple of months.

“It is something that we have to discuss with the selectors. I don’t think he can play any official game before October 29, so all games that he plays have to be unofficial games. It might be inter-squad games but we need to have clarity if he is allowed to play that.

“He has to make sure he is fit and that he starts hitting balls and bowling some balls. Once we assemble before heading off to Sri Lanka – when that tour is confirmed – we will get closer to making a decision. There’s still a while to go; it is only August now. His ban finishes in two-and-a-half months. When he is fit and available, we will cross that bridge,” said Domingo.

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