‘A jack of all trades is a master of none,’ they say. While this statement holds a certain degree of truth, the gentleman’s game has seen plenty of players who would render the claim null.
The modern era has seen one of the best all-rounders of all time plying his trade for Bangladesh, a nation few would ever consider as favourites for a major trophy. Yet, their captain in all but name, Shakib Al Hasan, has led his team close to glory on multiple occasions and his sensational performance at the 2019 World Cup is only the latest in a long line of instances of his incredible consistency.
We have the numbers to compare and contrast the 32-year-old’s ODI career so far with some of the best in the business – Sanath Jayasuriya, Shahid Afridi, Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Jacques Kallis, Kapil Dev and current England star Ben Stokes.
Note that the findings need to be taken with a pinch of salt, given cricket has evolved over time and comparing players across different eras using stats as the means can produce questionable results.
But taking into account that the quality of team-mates of other players in question is also considerably higher than those Al Hasan has had to partner, what he has achieved is indeed commendable.
Jacques Kallis leads the charts in batting averages with impressive figures of 44.36. However, Al Hasan (37.53) has managed to get the better of some of the best all-rounders in the last two decades like the dangerous Jayasuriya (32.13), ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi (23.58) and Imran Khan (33.41).
It’s interesting to note that the Magura-born Al Hasan has achieved those numbers at a healthy strike rate of 82.68. He has not enjoyed the power-play advantages that openers like Jayasuriya (91.22) and sloggers like Afridi (117.01) do.
Stokes has carved out a reputation as a fierce shot-maker in the middle-order – and that plays out with a 94.5 strike-rate ahead of England versus Australia – and his average, 38.39, is slightly superior to Al Hasan.
But, given that Bangladesh have never been the team to casually register 300+ scores, the Bangladeshi’s numbers remain underrated.
The 32-year-old’s versatility in the batting order has also invited obstacles against maintaining a healthy strike rate. Al Hasan has batted at number four and elsewhere, according to the needs of the team. Currently he is providing Bangladesh the spine they need at number three. It’s fair to say that he has often been the one to take one for the team – and done so in superb fashion.
Al Hasan has demonstrated that he is marginally better at handling the ball than wielding the willow and the numbers concur.
An impressive bowling average (runs per wicket) of 29.95 is behind only Imran Khan (26.62), Kapil Dev (27.45) and Ian Botham (28.54) among our select crop of elite players. This makes him the most efficient among other players in the modern era, ahead of Afridi, Kallis, Jayasuriya and an expensive Stokes (41.25).
The Sunrisers Hyderabad star has a healthy bowling strike rate (balls per wicket) to complement his impressive average. Having scalped wickets at a rate of one in 40.1 balls, Al Hasan is up there at the top alongside Kallis (39.38) and Stokes (40.8).
The left arm orthodox spinner is usually the go-to bowler when the team needs a breakthrough and his list of victims is consequently star-studded.
Al Hasan recently became the player to take the least number of games to reach 6000 runs and 200 wickets in ODI cricket. The Bangladeshi took just 202 games to achieve the feat which took Kallis, Jayasuriya and Afridi 221, 235 and 294 games respectively.
While bestowing top players with the ‘Greatest ever’ tag begs for debate, Al Hasan has made a fair case for being a top five all-rounder of all time and one of the best of the era.
The 2019 World Cup has been one of his very best – and ahead of their clash with Afghanistan on Monday, he’s the reason why Bangladesh remain with an outside chance to make the semi-finals.
Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib provided an amusing statement – using a famous Urdu phrase in the middle of his answer in pashto while talking about his team’s approach towards Bangladesh in their match at Hampshire Bowl on Monday.
Speaking on Sunday, Naib joked, in Urdu, “We have already drowned but we will drag you down along with us.”
Naib also addressed the fact that the wicket on Monday is the same as the one used 48 hours previously, though Naib does not think it hands his side a distinct advantage.
He said: “We played on this wicket, so it’s a similar wicket. But a cricket game is dependent on the presence or how you’re playing, especially in England conditions.”
Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman all went at less than four an over against India.
Gulbadin added: “Our spinners are one of the best spin attacks in the world. When the wicket is suitable for us, it’s very difficult for everyone.”
The biggest prize in cricket is up for grabs this summer as the top 10 teams battle it out in the 2019 ICC World Cup in England.
As fans, it’s not just watching the best players battle it out to look forward to. Fantasy cricket means you have the opportunity to get involved as well.
Dream11 is the official partner of the ICC tournament’s fantasy league. And we are with you every step of the way with our tips and picks to guide you through each round.
Here, we help you navigate through the seventh round which includes five matches and begins on Monday with Bangladesh’s clash against Afghanistan.
Afghanistan and Bangladesh all-rounders look good
The last game in Southampton featured India and Afghanistan in what was a nail-biting contest. The slow pitch got the better of an unsuspecting Indian batting line-up and ensured they had to settle for a modest total of just 224 runs.
The 2011 champions defended the meagre total after a Mohammad Shami hat-trick in the last over capped an exciting game that saw the fall of 18 wickets.
It would be logical to stock up on some of the all-rounders from either side in yet another Asian encounter between Afghanistan and Bangladesh on Monday.
Mohammad Nabi was sensational as he picked up two wickets and hit a crucial fifty. At the other end, Shakib Al Hasan continues to be among the top run-getters in the tournament and also has five wickets.
Joe Root (10 credits)
One of the most consistent wielders of the willow this World Cup will be leading the batting line-up for the hosts on what looks like a batsman-friendly pitch at the Lord’s against Australia. Aussies’ lethal bowling attack led by Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins can cause trouble but if the Englishman sticks around, he can go big. Root is one of the most picked players and there appears no need for a change in the winning formula.
Aaron Finch (9 credits)
David Warner, Finch, both, or a coin-flip? The Aussie opening duo has shown great consistency so far and will continue to do so, in all likelihood. Finch has scored at least 50 runs in each of Australia’s last three games. The captain registered 82 against Pakistan before powering to 153 against Sri Lanka and followed it up with a 53 against Bangladesh.
Warner has scored tons against Pakistan and Bangladesh. Going by the pattern, it’s now Finch’s turn to reach triple digits.
Kane Williamson (10.5 credits)
After two match-winning performances decorated by world-class centuries, Kane Williamson could be in for a rough evening against a fiery Pakistani bowling attack led by Mohammad Amir. But the Kiwis skipper has laughed at the face of adversity and almost single-handedly lifted his team to the top of the table.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s side will be a force to reckon with, thanks to the confidence that has kicked in after their win over the Proteas. But Williamson has momentum on his side and will look to lead by example like he has done so far.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman (8 credits)
After a near-flawless performance against an in-form Indian side, Mujeeb Ur Rahman will shift his gaze to Bangladesh. The familiar turf in Southampton could inspire a similar performance, but with more wickets to his name.
Should the 18-year-old spinner provide an early breakthrough, there is a good chance he will claim a couple more in the same spell.
Mohammad Amir (8.5 credits)
The joint leading wicket-taker of the tournament will be up against an unpredictable batting line-up that has proved to be overly reliant on Williamson.
A win over South Africa has provided Pakistan with an outside chance to qualify for the semis and a lurking Amir will be looking to make the most of it.
Mohammed Shami (8.5 credits)
Having announced his arrival into the tournament with a match-winning hat-trick against Afghanistan, Shami will be motivated to top it by rattling West Indies’ top-order and subsequently inch closer to cementing his place in the starting line-up over a recovering Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
With momentum, hunger and potentially overcast conditions to assist him, Shami could shine against the Windies.
Lasith Malinga (8.5 credits)
After producing one of the best bowling performances in Sri Lanka’s shocking win over England, Lasith Malinga will be licking his lips at the prospect of crushing a few South African toes with his yorkers.
The Proteas have been woeful with the bat and are likely to fall prey to the red-hot Sri Lankan pacer.
Mohammad Nabi (9 credits)
When Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi looks back at his performance against India years down the line, he will be staring at the highlight of his career. That is, unless he tops it with match-winner against Bangladesh.
Nabi troubled India with the ball and scalped two wickets before following it up with a half-ton with the bat. On paper, he will be up against a weaker opposition and is likely to assert himself on the fixture.
Shakib Al Hasan (9 credits)
As established already, the Bangladesh v Afghanistan is likely to produce wickets and both sides are gifted with a couple of quality all-rounders. Shakib is currently the player with the highest fantasy point and he could take it higher on Monday.
It’s highly unlikely that the 32-year-old will underperform in both the innings, making him a safe pick for this round.
Kusal Perera (8.5 credits)
A wicketkeeper-batsman who opens the innings should logically fetch a good amount of points, given he will be enjoying a good chunk of the power-play overs. A win against England has provided Sri Lanka a good chance of breaking into the top four with the hapless Proteas up next.
The fight needs to start at the top of the order and Kusal Perera – who has been unusually quiet so far – could be in for a big innings.
Vice-captain: Mohammad Amir