There are moments when he makes you dream of achieving the unthinkable and then there are times when he leaves you scratching your head, compelling you to ask the near-perennial question: 'did he actually play that shot?'
That's Shakib Al Hasan for you. He is the man Bangladesh's skippers turn to almost every time the Tigers are in trouble. You can trust him, but then again, you cannot.
That is just the way he plays his cricket and oddly enough, he believes that that is the only way he can be successful in his career. If he is on a roll, he is going to keep hitting you until you are taken out of the attack. Although he will admit that the strategy does not always work.
“Sometimes you are successful and sometimes you are not. There's your balance,” he slyly said at the post-day press conference yesterday when asked about where he plans to draw the line in order to create a balance.”
But rarely do you see him taking a defensive approach. That is something that he just cannot do.
And so, it really was not a surprise when Shakib mishit Ravichandran Aswin to the mid-on fielder to get caught for 82. It was a wicket that fell against the run-of-play.
The century stand between him and Mushfiqur Rahim was helping the visitors revive their innings and the pair did not seem threatened at all on the flat pitch. Bangladesh were still a long way away from India's total and they needed to show a lot more patience. However, all of a sudden, Shakib surprised everyone.
“Throughout the innings I was playing shots. So, that one [the one that got him out] I didn't connect well and that's all I can say. Other than that I think it was very positive the way I was batting. I didn't want to change my innings, I was playing the way I have been playing for the last five to six years,” said Shakib.
When asked if he was aware of the tough task ahead while batting, he said: “Actually, I don't think about so many things when I go to bat. If I wouldn't have been out I would have scored a hundred and it would have been good if I could have batted for a longer period for my team.
“I don't know. When I bat I don't think about all these things. I keep batting. I like to play shots. Sometimes I am successful, sometimes I am not. I don't really think much about it because this is my natural game and I like to play this way,” continued the left-armer.
“What would have happened had I got out for ten runs [while trying to play defensively]? We would have been 140 for 5 and not 240 for 5,” he added.
It is little acts like this that often compel fans and sports analysts to criticise Shakib, no matter how well he plays. He might have been the highest run-getter; he also might have been the best player on the field; but there are times when he plays a below-par shot that leaves everyone frustrated and yesterday was a classic example.
When asked if the reactions of the fans and the critics disappoint him, he said: “Not really, because I don't think along those lines. What I think is I like to contribute for the team. Obviously there are times when even I am not happy enough. I wasn't [satisfied] when I scored 217. I wanted to score more for the team.”
“I am not going to change my style of play. If I change it I don't think I will be Shakib. That's my way of thinking,” said the calm left-hander.