Shanto not worried, expects Shakib to bounce back

Bangladesh Captain Shanto Defends Under-Fire Shakib al Hasan Amid Criticism in T20 World Cup

Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto has firmly stated that the team is not concerned about veteran all-rounder Shakib al Hasan’s recent underwhelming performance in the ongoing ICC T20 Cricket World Cup 2024.

Shanto’s comments come amid widespread debate over whether Shakib should be benched due to his subpar displays in the tournament so far. Shakib, a pivotal figure in Bangladesh cricket, has struggled both with the bat and the ball in the two matches played.

In the opening match against Sri Lanka, Shakib managed only 8 runs and bowled three overs, conceding 30 runs. His performance did not improve against South Africa, where he bowled just one over and scored a mere 3 runs, contributing to Bangladesh’s narrow four-run defeat. This led to heavy criticism, particularly from former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag, who suggested that Shakib should have retired from T20 cricket.

Despite the backlash, Shanto emphasized the team’s faith in Shakib. “We are not worried about Shakib bhai’s performance and we do not want to speak about it. We all know how important he has been to Bangladesh cricket. It is more important to see what he is thinking rather than what the people are saying. He is trying his best. He is in a good place, I’ll say,” Shanto told reporters in Saint Vincent on Wednesday.

There have been ongoing rumors about Shakib dealing with retinal issues since the ICC ODI World Cup 2023. However, neither Shakib nor the team management has officially addressed the matter. Sources indicate that Shakib has been working extensively to recover from this eye problem, with support from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).

Shanto reassured fans about Shakib’s condition and form, saying, “I think it is all fine [Shakib’s eye problem]. He has been doing well in the practice sessions. One can have a bad patch and there is no additional pressure on me as the captain of the team. I know even Shakib bhai is not under any pressure. He is vastly experienced and will soon bounce back.”

Bangladesh, placed in Group D of the 20-nation tournament, needs a win against the Netherlands at Saint Vincent on Thursday to stay in contention for the Super 8 stage. The match is scheduled to start at 8:30 PM BST. Should they advance, Bangladesh will join a tough group featuring India, Australia, and Afghanistan in the next round.

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