After the news of Shakib Al Hasan requesting for a six-month break from Test cricket broke on Sunday afternoon, nothing had been a greater buzz in Bangladesh. In a country where cricket is at the forefront of its sporting interests, Shakib has been at the center of it all for almost a decade. While the news of him submitting the official letter was confirmed the same evening, BCB announced its Test squad for the South Africa tour on Monday, with Shakib not part of it.
The No. 1 ranked all-rounder addressed the press at his residence on Tuesday (September 12), coming out firm on his decision and stating that if he wanted to play for long, he had to give his body and mind a break. "I think I still have a long playing career left in me," Shakib told reporters at Dhaka. "If I want to play for that long and play well, then this rest is required," he added.
"I can play if I want but the question is what you want whether I play for one or two years or for five to six years. I feel that if I play in this manner I cannot survive after one or two years," Shakib noted.
"It is better to stop playing than to play in this manner because I want to perform till the last day of my career. So this break is required because I can come back strongly mentally and can play without tension for the next five years."
Shakib mentioned that it wasn't very difficult to convince the board members and that this had been on his mind for a long time. "I was thinking about it for quite some time and told my family and close ones regarding it. At the end of the day I am the one who knows best about the condition of my body," he said.
"For me, a one-month break is a long time and once I conveyed my idea, it did not take long for the board to accept it and I am thankful to them for it. I think there was nothing unethical about it and so they accepted it," he noted.
He also mentioned that he would decide on the next course of action after taking stock of his game during this period in the shorter form of the game, against South Africa. Although Shakib had requested for a six-month break, BCB decided to rest him for the two-match Test series against South Africa, believing that it would be enough for him to get over the fatigue.
"I will decide once I complete the South Africa series and the BPL," said Sakib. "I will see where I stand afterwards, talk with the board (about what) they feel.. that I should play (when) I feel that I can give my hundred percent, I will definitely play."
Shakib said that he needed a substantial break, which was only possible if he opted out of Test cricket. The shorter forms come in smaller windows and thus would not have helped his case. "If you take a break from Test series, you get a month off. If you take a break from a T20 series, you get three days break and for an ODI series it's only seven days. I needed a bigger break, so I opted for the Test format."
"I admit it is a job for me [playing for my country] as I am being paid. But at the same time, if there is no passion, and drive remains prime criterion of choosing it as a career, there is no point playing just for the sake of playing," concluded Shakib.