DUBAI: Bangladesh’s star all-rounder Shakibal Hasan, currently playing for Pakistan Super League (PSL) side Peshawar Zalmi, says he is eager to play in Pakistan again. However, he will be unavailable for the final in Lahore if his team makes it to the title decider.
Shakib and the other Bangladesh players in the PSL will be leaving the league on February 28 due to international commitments.
The world’s number one all-rounder in both ODIs and T20Is last played in Pakistan in 2008. And while Bangladesh were whitewashed 5-0 in the ODIs, Shakib himself impressed with both bat and ball in the series, including a century and a man-of-the-match award.
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“I last played in Pakistan in 2008; it was an amazing experience for me,” he said, while talking to The Express Tribune. “The crowd, the ground, the environment, the fans and the atmosphere were all fabulous. I really wish to play again in Pakistan once things get better.”
Shakib admitted that some of the shine of the PSL is lost since it is being held outside of Pakistan. “If the PSL was held In Pakistan, then it would have garnered much more passion and excitement than it has here in the UAE,” he said. “Right now the situation is a bit difficult back in Pakistan but I hope someday this all will get better and Pakistan will start hosting international tournaments and series again.”
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Shakib was part of a disappointing Karachi Kings side last time around but is now an integral part of an impressive Peshawar side that will get two shots at reaching the final after once again finishing in the top two.
And the 29-year-old believes the level of cricket being played in the PSL is right from the top drawer. “It is a great success for Pakistan cricket; it is almost to the standard of other T20 leagues taking place around the world,” he said. “The Pakistan Cricket Board must be lauded for holding such a quality tournament. All the leagues around the world give you a chance to interact with players from other countries but few succeed in creating the kind of environment that the PSL has.”
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Talking about how the environment of the dressing room helps the players and the team in the field he said, “All the dressing rooms around the world are different, with different mind-sets and atmospheres but what we have here with Peshawar Zalmi is tremendous and that shows out there on the pitch.”
Shakib also praised his skipper, two-time World T20 winning captain Darren Sammy, for his role in the way the side has gelled. “The kind of calm environment, where everyone knows their job, helps a player relax,” he said. “Sammy has the ability to cheer anyone up and everyone is so friendly in the dressing room. Our interactions with Pakistani players are terrific. It’s like I am playing with my home team rather than in a foreign league.”
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