'has Worked With Will Rely On Shakib On His Six-fight-Skills Against The Spinner' > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - 'Worked with Shakib on his six-hitting skills against the spinners'

Shakib Al Hasan has scores of 75, 64 and 121 in this World Cup

Bangladesh ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan called his childhood mentor at the Sunrisers Hyderabad camp during the time of Indian Premier League to complete a rigorous individual training program as part of his preparation for the World Cup. Salahuddin, who is working with Shakib from his days in BKSP where he joined in class seven, spoke exclusively with Cricbuzz regarding that intense training as well as changing of food habits to lose weights in order to excel in the global tournament.

What was the mental condition of Shakib when you joined him during the IPL as he wasn't a regular member of the Sunrisers Hyderabad line-up?

He played for them in the previous season but could not make it into the XI regularly after the first game. He was hoping for it badly. What I felt was that he was extremely eager to perform well [in IPL]. He was out of competitive cricket for a long time due to injury so in that sense, he needed to play regularly. But at the same time you have to admit that their team was extremely strong. Their bench was so strong and he was not fitting into the team combination as well. But he was eager to play and as he was not playing matches, it was not possible for him to practice [alone] a lot as those who were in the team went to field. But there was an opportunity for the members who were not part of the team to practice alone. And so he called me. As far as his mental state is concerned, it was not that good but he was keen to play and perform.

Don't you feel he is more serious on his preparation this time compared to the last two World Cup?

I think compared to other editions he is better prepared physically and technically.

Does this indicate that he is very keen to prove something?

I don't think so. Look what he has achieved so far, and at this stage of his career, he does not want to prove anything to anyone. It is more like he wants to cross his own barrier. It is something like coming out of the comfort zone to break the barrier where he is stuck for a while as a cricketer. I think it motivated him the most to go one step further from where he is at the moment.

What areas did you work as far as his batting is concerned? He has looked untroubled at the World Cup despite not having played regularly in English conditions in the recent past?

I think he needed few more shots to survive in those conditions. We tried to emphasize particularly on playing shots off his pads. When he is playing on the front foot, whether he played the flick or glance the ball always travel to a particular zone. We tried to see whether he can play in three zones like square leg, mid-wicket and fine leg. He tried to improve on this specific area and we tried to see whether he can hit a six after rocking onto the back foot, and by playing the pull shot against spinners.

When you look at England opener Jonny Bairstow or Australia's David Warner, you'll see that whenever they are getting a short ball from a spinner, they are going into position very quickly and hitting the ball for a six. It is more about mind-set, and if you believe that it is the only way to go after bowlers, you can make that happen. We usually don't play in that manner but Shakib realised and tried to improve on that area. He also worked on developing his skill to pick ones and twos against spinners. I think he improved quite a bit considering the first two games.

Earlier he had the tendency to play a slash at the initial stage of his innings but considering there are more shots in his repertoire, it has decreased to an extent....

He has had good preparation. Basically he is very strong on the off side but still we did some drills to increase the speed [bat downswing] and power so that he can have more time to play the shot. I think that had also helped him.

He shed six to seven kilograms during the time of IPL to regain his fitness. How do you look at it considering he is not someone who likes to spend a lot of time in the gym or following strict workload?

I think he was extremely serious about losing weight during the IPL. Because he knew by losing weight his fitness will be enhanced and that was necessary for him. He was working with a trainer regularly in the morning and evening and he was extremely good and was monitoring his development regularly. It could be possible because he wanted to do, and not something that was asked by anyone else. He was very conscious about his food and did not eat a bit more than what was planned for him.

Was that a surprise considering the food lover that he is, or was it an indication that he was willing to sacrifice a lot for this World Cup?

Yes, there were times when I was having food and he was just giving me company and it was quite a new experience for me. In that sense, yes, he was willing to sacrifice a lot of thing for this World Cup - from his food habits to his level of seriousness in his preparation.

Did you do anything with his bowling?

I think his bowling is God gifted. You don't have to tell him a lot as he tries to keep it as simple as possible. We have some simple theory and we just work on that. Whenever we feel that we are not following the process, we talk about it. I just try to watch two things - whether his landing [front foot] is ok or not and whether his hand position during the point of delivery is perfect or not. I think as a bowler his biggest strength is that he can read the batsmen and plan accordingly.

His action can be changed after bowling substantial period of time.He can also quickly go back to his original action if he is told that there is something wrong in your action. I think with his action, it is very difficult to have a lot a variations and whatever he does with his flight and pace is absolutely natural for him. The best part of him as a bowler is that he knows his limitations and tries to bowl to his strength rather than trying too many things.

And his fielding?

He has always been one of the best fielders in the team. He is quite sharp in ground fielding and has a safe pair of hand. As his fitness improved, his agility looks to have gone up too.

You always used to say that Shakib is a mental player. When others are practicing, Shakib is seen sitting alone and making plans for the opposition. Is that still the case?

When I went to him, all the members of the coaching staff were extremely happy and they appreciated his willingness. I have spoken with [Tom] Moody and [VVS] Laxman to know how you can motivate a player of Shakib's stature, to get to the next level. Laxman told me that these kind of players don't have anything to prove and there is very little that you can work with them as far as honing their technique is concerned. But his desire to work with you during the IPL only indicates that he is motivated to break the barrier and try to improve and go to the next level.

Before the World Cup, he was again in spotlight for missing the team photo shoot at the SBNS. How does he keep his calm despite all this negative publicity?

First of all, that was not intentional as he failed to read the message when he was notified about the arrangements. Secondly, he does not keep anything very close to his heart, whether it is negative publicity or praise, and that probably keeps him going.

After hitting the century against England, Shakib mentioned that he had to convince lot of people to get him promoted at number three and he is well aware that if he fails, he might lose that spot again. Does this insecurity bring the best out of him?

To be honest, I always believed he had the ability to bat at number three in the short format, considering in Tests he has to bowl a lot of over compared to ODIs and T20s. Technically speaking, he has the ability to bat at three, and scoring this hundred will certainly help him as it is a fitting reply for the people who doubt his technical strength as well as temperament. Rather than insecurity, what I feel is that he will give his best shot because he opted for that position. He is not someone who can take defeats easily. He won't take it lying down if everyone says that he made a wrong choice by playing at No.3.

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