Shakib taking all-round talents to world stage

TRY and pick the world's top-ranked all-rounder in all three formats right now.

If you selected Australian James Faulkner, or other prominent all-rounders such as Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews or Pakistan's Shahid Afridi you would be wrong.

That title goes to Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan.

While a superstar in his own country, he is barely recognisable in this part of the world, ahead of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand starting next Saturday.

The 27-year-old returned mainly modest results in his four-game stint in the Big Bash League with the Melbourne Renegades, and then the two practice games in Brisbane for his country against a Cricket Australia XI this week.

But he dominated a three-Test series against Zimbabwe in November last year, in one game taking 10 wickets with the ball with his left-arm orthodox spinners, and scoring 137 with the bat in the first innings.

Al Hasan also has Test and one-day international centuries against New Zealand and Pakistan, and taken bags of wickets against England and South Africa.

Like the way Sachin Tendulkar is revered in India, Al Hasan is looked upon as demi-god in Bangladesh.

"Every player that plays for the national team, they are loved so much," Al Hasan told APN yesterday.

"It's a big festival when Bangladesh plays in Bangladesh against any other team."

But one of the subcontinent's stars said his No.1 all-rounder title comes with no extra pressure.

"It's a very good feeling to be in that position. But it's more important for me to play well for the team," he said.

Al Hasan did, however, make the startling admission that he would like to see Michael Clarke lead Australia out at the Gabba for the World Cup fixture against Bangladesh on February 21.

Clarke is racing against the clock to be fit for the World Cup after a recent hamstring operation.

"He looked good (in the Cricket Australia XI v Bangladesh practice match in Brisbane, where Clarke scored 34 on Thursday). Hopefully he'll be playing against us," Al Hasan said.

"It will be good for cricket if he plays."

Bangladesh shocked the cricket world when it beat Australia in a one-dayer in England in 2005.

And Al Hasan said anything is possible when the two sides meet in Brisbane.

"With (the advent of) T20s now anything is possible if you have a good day," he said.

"We need to play our best cricket and at the same time if Australia doesn't play its best cricket, we'll have a very good chance.

"We'll definitely look to qualify for the second round, and that would be a very good achievement for us."

ODI RANKINGS

ALL-ROUNDERS

  1. Shakib Al Hasan (Bang)
  2. Mohammad Hafeez (Pak)
  3. Angelo Mathews (SL)
  4. Tillakaratne Dilshan (SL)
  5. Shahid Afridi (Pak)
  6. James Faulkner (Aust)


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