Khaled Mahmud Shujon, the former captain of Bangladesh and now a director at the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), has said if Shakib Al Hasan is reluctant to play for the national team, the BCB cannot be bothered to persuade him.
After being named in the squads for the Test and ODI teams to tour South Africa this month, Shakib once again disappointed Tigers fans by declaring he isn't mentally or physically fit to play international cricket, before catching a flight to the UAE.
The Bangladesh team will travel for South Africa on March 11, and the first match of the series will take place on March 18.
Nazmul Hasan, the president of BCB, had earlier said Shakib would travel to South Africa. But on Sunday, just before flying for the UAE, Shakib expressed his reluctance to play international cricket for now to a group of journalists at the airport.
“As far as I knew Shakib would tour South Africa. I’m not sure why he said otherwise now,” Mahmud told the media on Wednesday. “Cricket is not only a physical game but it is also a mental game. So if someone is not fit in both ways, it’s tough to play cricket. And if someone is not interested to play, there is no scope to force him to play.”
Shakib has missed the Test series in the last South Africa tour as well along with two consecutive series in New Zealand. He also skipped a series against Sri Lanka to take part in the Indian Premier League citing that it would help him to do well in the T20 World Cup that has taken place in Oman and UAE last year.
Following his about-turn, the BCB president questioned whether Shakiub's mental and physical issues, such as they are, would have popped up if he had managed to obtain the IPL contract he coveted.
Consider it beneath the dignity of the country's cricket board, BCB follows a policy of not trying to persuade anyone who doesn't want to play for the national team, considering it an honour and privilege that should take no persuasion.
Mahmud said that Bangladesh has different plans for every tour. If Shakib finally skips this tour, they would go with the other plans.
“Shakib has been doing this for a while now. We know Shakib is a man of his own way. But at the same time, Bangladesh has a huge investment in Shakib and the players like Mushfiqur (Rahim), Mahmudullah (Riyad) and others. So it’s also important that the country need their service and commitment,” Mahmud added.
The former captain also said the BCB is looking for new faces who could serve the national team for a longer period of time.
“It’s true that we won’t have the service of Shakib and other big players forever. So we have to find new faces. We have already started working on that. The new players will come ahead and they will also play well. It’s true and we have to accept this,” Mahmud added.