The game of cricket has had quite a few all-rounders who have held the world stage for many years through their brilliance with both bat and ball.
Shahid Afridi, Wasim Akram, Jack Kallis, Sanath Jayasuriya, Daniel Vettori and Shane Watson served their countries in both departments.
But for Bangladesh, finding such players seemed a very tough task until the emergence of Shakib Al Hasan. The man is truly a world-class cricketer.
At age 17, he was drafted by Khulna (his home city) to play in the national league and he represented Bangladesh at the under-19 level. He made his debut in 2006 against Zimbabwe. In his very first game, he showed the glimpses of his rare talent, scoring 30 runs and taking a big wicket.
At the 2007 World Cup, he caught people’s imagination when the Tigers upset the mighty Indians to book a place in super eight.
Since then he has developed himself into an all-rounder that can only come once in a generation. He is a hero in Bangladesh. Along with Mushfiqur Rahim and the lusty Tamim Iqbal they are taking Bangladesh to new heights and inspiring millions of followers.
He has been on top of the all-rounders ranking. And in 2015, he was No. 1 in all three formats of the game. Recently against Australia, he became only the fourth man in history to take five wickets in an innings against nine Test-playing nations and the third to take 10 wickets and score a fifty.
In 50 Tests, he has scored 3,568 runs at an average of 41 with five centuries. His 217 against the Black Caps at Basin Reserve is the highest score in Tests for a Bangladeshi. He also has 186 wickets in which he has taken five wickets in an innings 17 times. Twice has he taken 10 wickets in a Test. He has won man of the match awards six times and man of the series awards four times.
He is considered a modern day great in limited overs cricket. In 177 ODIs, he has notched up 4,983 runs at an average of 34 with seven centuries and 34 fifties. He also has under his belt 224 wickets.
He has captured man of the match awards 16 times and man of the series awards five times.
In 2015 he became the youngest all-rounder to take 200 wickets and score 4000 runs.
Against New Zealand in the Champions Trophy 2017 with Mahmudullah, he formed the highest Bangladeshi partnership for any wicket. The two scored 224 together. Both scored centuries.
In T20 cricket, he is simply a genius having played for franchises all over the world, representing Adelaide Strikers, Karachi Kings, Peshawar Zalmi, Khulna Royal Bengals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Barbados Tridents.
Currently he is the captain of the Bangladeshi T20 side. In 59 T20 Internationals, he has bagged 70 wickets, averaging 20. He has also scored 1208 runs with six fifties.
He was made the captain of the team in 2009. He led Bangladesh in 2011 World Cup where the Tigers faced a group stage exit.
However, at the 2012 Asia Cup, he scored 237 runs with three fifties and took six wickets and was the player of the tournament. It was the tournament where the Tigers simply punched above their weight by coming to the final losing out by the narrowest of margins.
There are other quality all-rounders in the world today such as Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali but none can match the successes which Shakib has achieved. He has single-handedly taken Bangladesh to some unlikely wins, the most recent against Australia.
With the rise of such stars as Mustafizur, Shakib, Mushfiqur, Mahmud and Tamim and all of them performing at crunch times, the future of Bangladeshi Cricket looks bright.