Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting hailed all-rounder Sakib al Hasan as the ‘danger man’ in Bangladesh side ahead of the ICC World Cup, scheduled to start on May 30 in United Kingdom.
Ponting, a three-time World Cup winner and current assistant coach of Australia national team, believed Sakib’s all-round ability and smartness in the game would surely make Bangladesh expect big things from him during the 46-day long event.
‘My danger man for Bangladesh is Sakib al Hasan. He has been there for long time now,’ Ponting was quoted in Cricket Australia in an interview on Sunday.
‘He is left-handed middle-order batsman who scores in many different areas and he is very strong at square of the wicket. He can wipe the ball very well towards backward point and third man.
‘And when you talk about smart and being clever, when the ball is in his hand, he is certainly that. He is never the big turner of the ball. [But] the left-arm off-spinner obviously can pace up really well. And he looks to be very attacking,’ he added.
Since making his international debut in 2006, Sakib has been the main architect of Bangladesh’s success in international arena as he consistently performed for them both with bat and ball during last era.
His performance in 50-over format as well as in Twenty20 cricket made him a popular figure in franchise cricket around the world and he has done tremendously well in different leagues such as Big Bash, Indian Premier League and Bangladesh Premier League.
However, Sakib missed a large part of Bangladesh’s international fixtures during last year for an injury in his left little finger and also could not feature in Bangladesh’s first international fixture this year against New Zealand due to another finger injury.
The injuries forced him to get dropped from top of ICC all-rounders’ ranking in all three formats before he regained the position in one-day international’s with a creditable performance in the recent tri-nation tournament.
Sakib scored 140 runs in three matches at an average of 140 and picked up two wickets as well in the tri-series and contributed heavily to Bangladesh’s first ever multi-team event triumph although he missed the final against West Indies.
The performances in the series helped him overtake Afghan duo Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi to go to the World Cup officially as number one all-rounder in the world.
Ponting revealed that Sakib kept his bowling tight during the matches despite not being a big turner of the ball which forced the batsmen to play false shots and eventually made them fall in his trap.
‘He uses the angle most spinners do these days. Most spinners in these days in white ball cricket bowled their strong balls in pitches and not give the batsmen scoring opportunities,’ he said.
‘But he is the other way. He will keep you in tight in first few balls and then really change the pace up to the ball line and force the batsmen to take him on. He has been long time in international cricket and involved in Big Bash and involved in IPL for last six to seven seasons.
‘So no doubt if you go through the Bangladesh team, probably him and Tamim Iqbal are the guys Bangladesh will be looking for the World Cup,’ added Ponting.
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