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Shakib insists he deserves to take a break

Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan insists he deserves to take a break from cricket after opting to miss the upcoming Test series in South Africa, starting at the end of this month.

Shakib, who is the number-one ranked allrounder across all three formats, had written a letter to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) asking to be excused from Test cricket for the next six months.

The board granted his requested for a break but said he will not be considered only for the two-Test series in South Africa, starting on 28 September in Potchefstroom.

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A top left-arm spinner and forceful left-handed batsman, Shakib has arguably been his country’s best player since making his international debut in 2006.

Shakib told reporters on Tuesday: “I have been thinking about taking the break for quite some time now. I have spoken to my family and friends ahead of this series about this break.

“I think this will help me. Since I play a lot, I can’t focus on my fitness or even try to be mentally fresh. I have been playing for 10-11 years, so I think I deserve a break.

“In Test cricket, my role is such that I have to contribute in all four innings. If I am contributing half the time, I won’t be able to meet the team’s expectations.

“I think it is best to play when I know I can give my best in all four innings. It is not important to me to just play for the sake of match fees and salary.

This is my job, for sure, but I started playing out of interest, passion and love for the game. If that’s not there, I don’t see the point in playing.”

The 30-year-old thanked the BCB for accepting his request to miss important games.

He did however say that it was not hard to convince the board that he needed a rest as they realised it would prolong his career.

Shakib continued: “I will be taking a break of around a month if I go [to South Africa] after the two Tests. I haven’t had such a break in the last three or four years.

“I thank the BCB for understanding how big a deal this is for me. They said it was a good idea after hearing me out. At the end of the day, I know my body better than anyone.

“I have to manage it. I didn’t ask for anything unethical. I think that’s why they accepted it and it wasn’t a lot of hard work to convince them.”