Tendulkar, Ponting and Lara are unlikely icons among villagers in the remote countryside of Magura, in one of the poorest district of Bangladesh- Jessore.
But the boys of this village in Magura now eat, sleep and drink cricket, and stay up all night to catch their favourite teams play, regardless of where the match is being played.
The village has only one connecting road to the main district and authorities have failed to even make that pucca, citing limited resources and natural obstructions.
Fishing is the only occupation which ensures that the thousand odd population of the village have their bread and butter. So, one quality which every child of this village wears on his sleeves is of never being afraid of tough challenges. Where challenges are friends and high tides and deep sea always a companion, who bothers about things like roads, electricity, schools and playgrounds, leave alone a cricket bat.
Often I wondered what if Chris Gardne
r had not even thought of quitting his failed bone scanner salesman job fearing his short termed homelessness, but his unending ambition conquered and thus we saw the birth of a crazy entrepreneur, who ruled world business.
Something similar happened in cricketing arena last week, when, The Wisden Cricketer’s Magazine announced its Test Player of the Year 2009, it wasn’t the name of Sachin Tendulkar, Andrew Flintoff, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag or for that matter even Ricky Ponting, but it was a 22-year old boy from Magura village in Bangladesh. The reward came as a surprise gift to the people of this little known place and that too from a person, who was fittingly there very own, Shakib Al Hasan.
Shakib means ‘reward’ or a ‘gift’. So when Shakib Al Hasan won the Wisden Test Cricketer of the Year award, the whole of entire Bangladesh swung into a celebratory mood, and his hometown danced till mid-night, while his parents shed tears of joy.
In London, John Stern, the editor of Wisden Cricket Magazine said, “I'm sure this achievement will be a surprise to many followers of the game, but it represents an outstanding effort in the last 12 months for Shakib, it highlights that if will-power be a guiding factor even the toughest terrain can be conquered and especially in the context of him playing for an international side that is still finding its feet."
The story might look similar to one of those rags to riches story as Shakib had no means to purchase a bat, which could have ensured him a place in one of the relatively better known clubs in Dhaka, but his zeal and in-born qualities ensured that he wasn’t deterred from his goal.
With just 14 Tests and 70 ODIs under his belt, his achievement is no way near to being called as significant, but as its often said in cricket, “ Don’t go by statistics, they often mislead you.’
His all-round success of-late has ensured Bangladesh securing their first overseas Test series win, that too against a regular Test nation, West Indies. The 96-run innings at Grenada against West Indies is his highest score in Test cricket, but the youngster promises more and offers a hope to his fellow cricketers around the globe to fight odds and realize that ‘impossible is nothing.’
Chris Gardner once said, “If you're ever going to give something, this is the time, because the need has never been greater.” The Wisden Award might have just come at the right time for Shakib Al Hasan.
Zeecric.com congratulates Shakib, for his achievement and wishes good luck for his future.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)