End of a ban made tolerable by Covid-19 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 28, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:18 AM, October 28, 2020

End of a ban made tolerable by Covid-19

Shakib Al Hasan's one-year ban is set to end tomorrow, clearing the way for the star Bangladesh all-rounder to appear in all forms of cricket.

Shakib was handed a ban for two years, with the second of those suspended, by the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption Unit on October 29 last year for having failed to report corrupt approaches by an alleged bookie.

With the ban coming to an end, Shakib will once be allowed to appear in both international and domestic cricket and will be available for selection from tomorrow onwards. Shakib is set to return to cricket with the T20 tournament arranged by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), set to start from November 15.

BCB President Nazmul Hassan said Shakib, who is currently in the US with his family, will return to Dhaka by November 10.

Since his ban in October last year, Bangladesh have played only 14 international matches -- four Tests, three ODIs and seven T20Is -- and the coronavirus pandemic has to some extent come as a blessing in disguise for the 33-year-old cricketer and the national team.

Since March this year cricket in Bangladesh has been halted due to the pandemic and it's been more than seven months since the Tigers last played an international game. Shakib's availability from tomorrow will certainly boost the morale of the side for their upcoming international schedule.

As far as the domestic competition in the country is concerned, the dashing southpaw missed out on the special edition of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League T20 and the first round of the Dhaka Premier League, which remains suspended.

The blessing in disguise for Bangladesh is that because of the pandemic, which has eaten up seven of the 12 months of Shakib's ban, the team did not feel the absence of its talismanic cricketer as much as they would have if they had to contend with tough international assignments over the last seven months.

After his exceptional all-round performance in the 2019 ICC World Cup, followed by his leading role during the players' strike a year ago, Shakib tried to stay away from the headlines, but the cricketer remained in the news for several reasons during this period. 

The star cricketer grabbed headlines by forming his Shakib Al Hasan Foundation to help people in need during the floods and also the coronavirus pandemic, auctioning off the bat that he used during the World Cup. There were controversies too as 200 workers from the Shakib Al Hasan Agro Farm Limited, owned by the star all-rounder, gathered outside the farm in April and closed the Munshiganj-Nildumur road, claiming they were owed four months' wages. Shakib instructed the farm authorities to clear all unpaid dues and the matter was eventually resolved.

There was also talk about the state of his relationship with ODI captain Tamim Iqbal when Shakib declined to appear in Tamim's live Facebook chat shows citing personal reasons despite the cricketer giving interviews to various media outlets. 

As Shakib's ban was nearing its end, there was much anticipation that he would make his return in an international series. The all-rounder was expected to play from the second Test of the planned Sri Lanka tour and aiming for a strong comeback, Shakib even returned from the US and started individual practice at his alma mater, BKSP.

However, the BCB's decision to not send the team to Sri Lanka due to the strict coronavirus protocols saw Shakib return to the US, and now fans are anticipating the return of the country's most celebrated cricketer in the domestic T20 competition from mid-November.

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