KOLKATA: In a major relief to Kolkata Knight Riders’ team management, ace Bangladesh player Shakib Al Hasan arrived in the city on Saturday afternoon to take part in the upcoming IPL. The all-rounder is expected to join the Knights camp soon in Mumbai where five of the players finished their mandatory seven-day quarantine at the team hotel and came out to practice at the DY Patil Stadium on Friday.
Questions were raised over Shakib’s participation in this IPL after the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) cricket operations committee chairman Akram Khan stated that the board may reconsider the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) issued to the all-rounder after Shakib had accused the board of misinterpreting his letter to BCB seeking permission to skip Sri Lanka Tests in April in order to play in IPL.
However, things were settled when BCB director Ismail Haider stated that Shakib’s “NOC will remain as it is and he can go and take part in IPL.”
Shakib, who was picked by KKR for Rs 3.2 crore in the auction, returned home from the United States on Monday night and did some practice at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur the following day. Along with honing his batting skills against throwdowns, he bowled a couple of overs too. The all-rounder along with former Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, met the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday in Dhaka.
However, KKR may miss Shakib if they qualify for the playoffs as his NOC is valid till May 18. Shakib will be required to join the Bangladesh squad for a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka that will begin on May 20.
It was also learnt that KKR’s key pacer Pat Cummins will be arriving in India on Friday and will be available for practice after quarantine from April 9. The team will play their first match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 11 in Chennai. KKR’s new recruit Harbhajan Singh too checked in on Saturday.
Varun Chakaravarthy, Rahul Tripathi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier and Vaibhav Arora began training under the watchful eyes of assistant coach Abhishek Nayar and assistant bowling coach Omkar Salvi.
Nayar looked ahead to the season with optimism. “We have a very balanced side with the kind of skill sets every player possesses. I think we need to ensure that every player is in the right frame of mind during the tournament to be able to perform,” he was quoted as saying on the team website.