Shakib Al Hasan now regularly visits the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur as the ace all-rounder has a separate training schedule to follow. He often flashes an infectious smile at the reporters and sometimes even exchanges a few words; of course not anything serious or relating to his six-month ban on disciplinary grounds. Shakib is naturally straightforward but he has been showing a lot of restraint since the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) slapped the all-rounder with a six-month ban from all cricket in its July 7 board meeting.
Apart from reading out a written statement -- in which he apologised for his behaviour and appealed for a reduction of his suspension -- on July 20 Shakib did not speak to the media about what he was going through personally as a result of the ban. His fans are naturally curious to know his side of the story and many have wanted to know why he has kept silent on the issue.
His suspension has provoked a huge debate among the cricket lovers and so far discussed in all forums, there has been divided opinion regarding his suspension but the player himself seemed to follow the mantra of “silence is gold”.
Apparently he is loath to invite more trouble in an otherwise successful career by saying something that can be misconstrued. The board has also informally advised Shakib against saying anything to the media before the August 26 board meeting, during which a positive decision regarding the reduction of his suspension is set to be taken so that he can play the Dhaka Premier Cricket League and the home series against Zimbabwe, both of which are important for him to prepare properly for next year's World Cup to be held in Australia-New Zealand.
But nothing can be more painful for the all-rounder than practising at home while his team-mates travel to West Indies to play a series. In discussions with close associates he expressed his deep sadness at missing out on an important tour. He also said that although he has not felt pressure when performing in the international arena, he will certainly feel pressure when he will be a mere spectator watching on TV as his team-mates carry the hopes of the nation.
This suspension, one that is as hard on Shakib as it is on the team and his fans, fortunately seems to have ingrained in him a new realisation.