'Does he really care?' - Bangladesh coach makes a comment on Shakib's captaincy
Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo said even as premier allrounder Shakib Al Hasan gives a no-care impression on the outside about his leadership style, it hardly reflects on the passionate and resilient nature with which he actually approaches job at the helm.
Domingo said to talk about Shakib's leadership is "tricky", in that his outer demeanour may suggest "does he really care?" about the proceedings. But deep within, the cricketer is extremely involved and wants Bangladesh to compete and come out triumphant all the time.
The flux of emotions that Shakib Al Hasan can inspire on the outside was on display during the first Test against India in Chattogram, where he battled discomfort borne out of an injury to produce a resilient and dogmatic knock of 84 in the final innings and delayed the tourists' victory.
He could bowl only 12 overs in the first essay and underwent the second half without rolling his arms, reserving himself for the hard grind with the bat that came to fruition in the final hours of the Test match, in that he pushed Indian bowlers off their lengths and plans over a brilliant knock.
Domingo on Shakib's captaincy
For a player that has frequently found himself in a tussle over availability with Bangladesh's cricket board, Shakib can easily be mistaken as a player uninvolved at the Test level. But knocks like the one played in Chattogram dispel theories around his attitude and commitment to the game's toughest format.
"It is a tricky question. It is a good question," Domingo said at the post-match press conference. "He comes across as very laidback, but when he is in the contest, he has pride in performance."
"Looking from the outside, you may think, 'does he really care?' but I know that he has a lot of pride in performances. He doesn't want to be embarrassed out there. He is competing 100 per cent."
Domingo holds nothing but respect for the serviceman Shakib has been to Bangladesh Test cricket, standing today as inarguably their greatest-ever player in the format. The 35-year-old is averaging nearly 40 with the bat after 4,338 runs, apart from bagging 225 scalps at 31.44 in his 64 Tests.
"He's got one of our best records and got 80 in the second innings and he's the captain of the side. So as an all-rounder when you are not bowling well, you are still worth your money with the bat and vice-versa. He's worth his money with the bat."
The head coach also provided an update on Shakib's injury and availability to bowl come the next Test in Mirpur, starting December 22, stating he is unsure whether Bangladesh will have the left-arm spinner up their sleeves to take on the lengthy Indian batting unit.
"I am not a hundred percent sure whether he will be available to bowl. He's definitely able to play as a batter, which is an issue for us since we need an all-rounder. So at the moment he will need to be assessed in a day or two but at the moment fit to play as a batter," Domingo said.