Sakib’s quiet birthday in quarantine

Staff Correspondent | Published: 21:48, Mar 24,2020 | Updated: 12:14, Mar 25,2020


Bangladesh all-rounder Sakib al Hasan poses for photograph at Lord’s ahead of their World Cup match against Pakistan on July 5, 2019. — Courtesy Cricinfo

Sakib al Hasan had a unique experience on Tuesday when he celebrated his 33rd birthday in total isolation, away from his family and cricket, confined in a hotel room in the United States of America as a safety precaution for the coronavirus pandemic.

Sakib has been in a 14-day self-isolation after reaching the USA on March 21 to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Sakib was not feeling sick or showing any symptoms but chose not to meet his wife and only daughter, who were already staying in the country, and abide by the advice of the World Health Organisation.

‘I just arrived in the USA and came to a hotel directly. I have informed the authority that I travelled to come here and I will stay in self-isolation for 14 days,’ Sakib had said in a video posted on facebook on March 21.

‘It’s tough for me, but still, I didn’t meet my daughter. I believe this small sacrifice will help us protect ourselves,’ he added.

The sour experience of having to celebrate his birthday by himself was the newest addition to the unexpected and disheartening incidents the all-rounder has faced in the past 10 months or so.

After his incredible show in the 2019 ICC World Cup, which was followed by him leading the first-class players strike in October later that year, Sakib was all set to become the new central figure in country’s cricket.

But everything came crashing down for the all-rounder when he was banned by the International Cricket Council for one-year for not disclosing multiple corrupt approaches.

He was not allowed to take part in international cricket, was side-lined from all competitive cricket and wasn’t even allowed to be physically present at the stadium when Bangladesh would be taking part in an international match.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board even had to remove the umbrellas which had Sakib’s face printed on it from the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium during the home Test against Zimbabwe in February.   

Because of the ban Sakib couldn’t bid farewell to Mashrafee as a captain from the ground, when he left the post on March 6 after the third one-day international match Zimbabwe at the Sylhet Internal Cricket Stadium.

Sakib also lost the chance to become Mashrafee’s successor in the fifty-over format, with the Bangladesh Cricket Board naming Tamim Iqbal as Bangladesh’s new leader in ODIs for a long period.    

Despite being in quarantine, Sakib, however, received birthday wishes from team-mates Mushfiqur Rahim, Mehedi Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Afif Hossain who all greeted him on his special day in different social media platforms.

‘Shakib Al Hasan- the name of inspiration, An elder brother. You are very special to us. Learning lots of things from you. You are one of my inspirations. On this special day, I am wishing you a very #HappyBirthday. May Almighty bless you always!’ Mustafizur Rahman said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Birthday wishes like this were the only consolation in isolation for Sakib on his special day.

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