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Wife's words of wisdom boost Shakib in Dhaka

31 August 2017

Shakib was Player of the Match in the first Test, Dhaka // Getty

Louis Cameron, Dhaka


Louis Cameron, Dhaka


Bangladesh allrounder admits message from his wife motivated first Test win against Australia

Star allrounder Shakib al Hasan admitted he told his wife he thought Bangladesh couldn't defeat Australia just hours before he spun the Tigers to victory in one of the finest individual efforts in Test history.

Already one of only seven players to have ever coupled a 10-wicket haul with a score of 80-plus, Shakib became the first in Test history to do it twice as Bangladesh stunned Australia with a tense 20-run win in Dhaka on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old sealed the remarkable individual feat when he removed the tourists' last recognised batsmen Glenn Maxwell on the first ball after lunch, finishing with 5-85 to go with his first-innings return of 5-68.

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Those hauls came after he'd rescued the hosts on day one with a counter-attacking knock of 84, having arrived at the crease with Bangladesh in deep trouble at 3-10 less than an hour into the match.

Despite his starring role across the first three days of the Test, Shakib conceded his confidence, hit by a David Warner and Steve Smith-led Australia fightback, had been restored by an astute prediction from his better half.

"My wife is my greatest motivation," Shakib said. "She just messaged me, 'Now I can sleep'.

"I was telling her last night that I don't think we can win the game. She said if you take five wickets and the team will win.

"I agreed with her thoughts."

Thankfully for Bangladesh, she was correct with her husband displaying all the characteristics that make him the heart and soul of an exciting side that has well and truly shaken off the 'minnows' tag they'd been assigned for much of their 17-year Test-playing history.

And despite never having previously played against Australia in the longest format, a good case can be made to include Shakib among the greatest handful of Test allrounders to ever play the game.

Using average differential (the positive gap between a player's batting and bowling average) as a marker, Shakib is trumped by only five other players; Garfield Sobers, Jacques Kallis, Imran Khan, Keith Miller and Shaun Pollock (see below for the full list).

In 2014, he joined a list featuring the likes of Kapil Dev and Ian Botham when he completed his first Test double of a 10-fer complemented by an 80-plus total when he posted 137 to go along with his 10-143 against Zimbabwe in 2014.

With all due respect to Zimbabwe, his effort in Mirpur came against far tougher opposition and the fact that none of the Bangladesh players had played against Australia before served as motivation for their triumph, according to Shakib.

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"The best feeling is to contribute to the team's win," said the left-armer, who was playing in his 50th Test.

"It was an important Test for us since we hardly play against Australia. It worked as an inspiration for us.

"I want to contribute equally with both bat and ball. It is my job and responsibility to contribute as a senior player in the side."

A downcast Steve Smith, who said on a charity visit to Oxfam last week Shakib was the Bangladesh player he most admired when asked by one of the inquisitive local women the six visiting players met, described Shakib's bowling as "spectacular".

"Shakib played particularly well in the first innings and bowled well in both innings as well," Smith said.

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"I thought he played quite aggressively in the first innings. Any width he got, he put away.

"We were probably a little bit short and wide, our fast bowlers, and our spinners probably just didn't hit their lengths quite as consistently as we would have liked.

"I think that's the key to what Shakib does really well. His lengths are spectacular and he lets the ball do whatever it needs to do off a good length."


  • GS Sobers (WI) – 23.74 (batting average 57.78, bowling average 34.03)
  • JH Kallis (SA) – 22.71 (batting 55.37, bowling 32.65)
  • Imran Khan (PAK) – 14.88 (batting 37.69, bowling 22.81)
  • KR Miller (AUS) – 13.99 (batting 36.97, bowling 22.97
  • SM Pollock (SA) – 9.19 (batting 32.31, bowling 23.11)
  • Shakib al Hasan (BAN) – 8.92 (batting 41.01, bowling 32.09)

Australia in Bangladesh 2017

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Steve O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.

Bangladesh squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Shakib Al Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Liton Das, Taskin Ahmed, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam, Mominul Haque.

27-31 August First Test, Dhaka, Bangladesh won by 20 runs

4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong

About the Writer


Louis Cameron is a Melbourne-based journalist. A former Victorian Bushrangers fast bowler, Louis joined the team with assistance from the Australian Cricketers' Association's Internship Program in 2016.