The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has made a significant announcement regarding the team’s lineup for the impending tour of Sri Lanka. Shakib Al Hasan, a revered all-rounder within the cricketing community, will not be partaking in the forthcoming series. BCB’s cricket operation chairman Jalal Yunus has clarified the developments around Shakib’s availability, indicating that the cricketer has chosen to sit out of the entire tour, including the Test series. This follows the decision to exclude Shakib from the white-ball teams as well.

Shakib’s absence has not gone unnoticed, as he has been contending with an eye condition that first became problematic during the last World Cup. His performance in the early stages of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) reflected this struggle, with an uncharacteristically meager total of four runs across three innings. Nevertheless, Shakib’s tenacity and skill came to the forefront in subsequent matches, as he managed to accumulate 249 runs over a span of 11 games.

Yunus shed some light on the all-rounder’s thought process, stating, “He (Shakib) wanted a break from the entire series against Sri Lanka as he didn’t want to take part in international cricket. I think his eyes are fine at the moment but I feel he wants a break so that he can come back to international cricket fully fit.” These words from Yunus suggest that the break may serve as a reset for Shakib, allowing him to return to the international stage rejuvenated and at optimum performance levels.

Intriguingly, it seems Shakib Al Hasan might not be away from cricket altogether during this period. Reports indicate that he may participate in the Dhaka Premier League, representing the Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi club when the traditional List A tournament commences on March 9. Such a move would keep Shakib in active competition, albeit in a domestic context, which could serve to maintain his match fitness and form.

For Bangladesh’s national team, the tour of Sri Lanka begins with T20 Internationals starting March 4, followed by the One Day International (ODI) series initiating on March 13. A notable scheduling clash arises with the two-match Test series beginning concurrently with the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024—a detail that is significant given Shakib’s substantial international and franchise cricket commitments.

In an interesting twist to the team dynamics, Mahmudullah, another veteran of Bangladesh cricket, finds himself back in the T20I squad for the first time since 2022. His outstanding BPL campaign, which has seen him scoring 218 runs across 11 matches with a remarkable strike rate of nearly 138, indicates a player in fine touch. Former Bangladesh coach Dave Whatmore praised Mahmudullah’s capabilities, particularly his robustness in the power-hitting department required for the shortest format of the game. Whatmore mused about Mahmudullah’s potential roles, saying, “I think he (Mahmudullah) has got the power which is needed in this format. He certainly has the ability to clear the boundary and accelerate the run rate and so he could be used in a couple of ways. He can bat high and make a big score or he can come later in the innings and accelerate and clear the boundaries.”

With the tour on the horizon, Bangladesh will aim to adapt to life without Shakib on the field. While his absence will be felt, the return of Mahmudullah and the depth of emerging talent in the squad point to the resilience and dynamic nature of the team. Cricket fans will be watching closely to see how Bangladesh navigates the challenges and opportunities ahead during their tour of Sri Lanka.

By IPL Agent

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