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Shakib Al Hasan and our martyr complex

  • Published at 12:01 am October 31st, 2019
Shakib Al Hasan
File photo: Shakib Al Hasan

He is a fallible human being just like the rest of us

It’s a two-year ban with one year suspended.

That means if Shakib Al Hasan follows the required protocols, he will have to serve one year. There will doubtlessly be an appeal made by BCB on behalf of their star player -- who are not his biggest fans right now but are not such fools that they want their golden egg-laying goose to be sacrificed just yet. 

This may bring the ban down to a six-month period. Which means our star all-rounder may be playing the sport he has (mostly) graced for so long by May, 2020. Well in time for the T20 World Cup next year.

Let’s try to make the best out of this terrible situation, shall we? Let’s all hope, and plan, for the best possible outcome to this predicament for Shakib, for Bangladeshi cricket which has made such strides, and for the wonderful, elegant sport itself. No sport wants to have aspersions cast on one of its champions.

And Shakib Al Hasan is the very definition of a champion. Let us not for a moment forget that.

For whatever reason, we have become a nation of binary thinkers, victims of our own martyr complex. Dark forces are always conspiring against us, whether they be homegrown or international. Nothing is ever our own fault. Woe is us Bangladeshis.

This is the quick and effective way we’ve devised to never take responsibility for our actions.

Things are either absolutely perfect or totally repugnant. Our heroes are impeccable, with nothing to besmirch them. Everyone else is envious of their success, hatching plots to drag them down from the lofty heights they’ve scaled. There is black and there is white, with no grey area to separate them.

The truth is possibly somewhere in those greys, as it generally seems to be in this messy, troublesome world. Yes, the BCB is run by quite a few people who have no business being there: They do not have the players’ welfare in mind and are not motivated by a love of the game. 

And also yes, our Shakib Al Hasan is a fallible human being just like the rest of us, and a flawed hero. He has displayed serous misjudgment in the past. This recent one seems to have been the gravest of them all.

If Bangladeshi cricket is to continue to prosper, BCB is in urgent need of reform. And there is no love lost right now between them and their star player. But that does not mean the board, or its chairman, is conspiring against Shakib.

Let Shakib pay the cost for his misjudgment, and emerge from this debacle an even better player, and more importantly, a more evolved human being.

His fellow champion Steven Smith’s recent experience comes to mind: Having committed a much more egregious offense, at the very peak of his career, while he was carving out a record as one of the game’s all-time-greats, he has come back after serving his time as a man possessed, better if possible than he has ever been.

Shakib’s biggest strength has always been how alert and tough he is mentally. He has it in him to rise from this like the fabled phoenix from the flames. His destiny is to stand beside Garfield Sobers and Jacques Kallis as the best all-round player the game has ever seen.

But all that can only happen if we, the fans, allow him to be human first. 

Tanvir Haider Chaudhury has spent most of his career as a banker and is now running a food and beverage company.