Bangladesh star allrounder defended his decision to play the IPL 2021 instead of the Test series against Sri Lanka, saying the national team is anyway out of reckoning for a spot in the ICC World Test Championship final. Shakib explained that he instead wants to prepare for the T20 World Cup to be held in India later in the year.
“These two Tests are our last matches in the World Test Championship so it is not as if we are going to play the final,” Shakib told Cricfrenzy. “We are at the very bottom of the points table. I don’t think it makes much of a difference. The other major reason is that the World Cup T20 is in India later this year. It is a very important tournament where we have much to achieve. There isn’t much to achieve in these two Tests. I think it is a better option that I prepare myself for something bigger.
“Those who keep saying that I don’t want to play Tests, I am sure they didn’t read my letter. I didn’t mention anywhere in my letter to the BCB that I don’t want to play Tests. I wrote that I want to play the IPL to prepare myself for the World Cup.
“Akram (Khan, the BCB’s cricket operations chairman) bhai especially has repeatedly said that I don’t want to play Tests. I think he said it again in an interview yesterday. I guess he never read the letter. People should have a clear idea that I wanted to play the IPL even if ODIs were scheduled during this time.
“I want to take advantage of playing in the same grounds and against the same players who I will face in the World Cup T20 four months later. I can share the same experience with my Bangladesh team-mates.”
Shakib slammed the BCB for scheduling Test matches during the IPL season.
“No other cricket board holds international matches during the IPL,” he said. “Only we are playing against Sri Lanka. Do you ever see any Afghanistan cricketer playing for their country during the IPL? Their board makes sure the players are free to play in the IPL. If we don’t value our own players, how can you expect us to perform well when playing for Bangladesh?
“I will let you in on a brutal truth. When overseas players come to Bangladesh, we call most of them ‘sir’ or ‘hujur’, but we do not see our experienced cricketers the same way. If the people, board and players do not respect you, you can’t expect them to respect you.”
Shakib, though, thanked Nazmul Hassan, the BCB president, for allowing him to play the IPL.
“I want to thank (Nazmul Hassan) Papon bhai for taking the right decision. A player must have the freedom, and his confidence goes up when the board president backs him in this manner. The player becomes more responsible when playing for the national team.”