Shakib Al Hasan is the lone Bangladesh representative in the Champions League T20. And possibly, he earns more more money and exposure from the two months of IPL with Kolkata Knight Riders and the CLT20 than a year of playing for the national team. But the all-rounder is not perturbed and is ready to give up playing IPL if ever it gets in the way of national duty, as he tells HT.
Bangladesh raise hopes now and then but even after a decade of getting Test status, they are struggling.
We have been finding players who can perform at the international level but we have lacked consistency. Many other teams around the world complain about too much cricket, but it's the lack of it that is hurting Bangladesh. We hardly play five-six Tests a year, and this will not get us anywhere. It's too less a time for any player to get used to playing at the highest level.
How much has life changed after the IPL?
It definitely has. Honestly, I was hoping to be picked last year more than this year. But it's great to share the dressing room with big names like (Jacques) Kallis, Brett (Lee) and (Gautam) Gambhir. Though IPL makes me stay away from home more now, but I like it every bit.
Did you have any favourite team before joining IPL?
Nothing as such but I'm definitely happy my team is from Kolkata. It's as good as being at home.
On one hand many England and Australia players skip IPL to play for their country while others opt for it to have a longer, and more lucrative, career. What if you have to choose between the two?
Playing IPL does give you the money, which, especially for players from Bangladesh who play so less international cricket, is pretty handsome. But I'd be more than willing to give up IPL if the national side needs my service at any point.
You have also played county cricket (for Worcestershire). Is it their approach to the game or advanced coaching that's helping England now?
It's both. They give importance to the game at every level. The county teams have such grounds and facilities that most of our international stadiums in Bangladesh don't have.
They have 16 counties, and imagine even if one player comes out of each, you have a great England side.