Bangladesh wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim posted an emotional message for his friend and colleague of over 18 years Shakib Al Hasan after the latter was banned from international cricket for a year.
Shakib received a two-year ban by the International Cricket Council [ICC] for not reporting corrupt approaches on three instances by bookies but one year was suspended with immediate effect. Therefore, the all-rounder will be free to play again from October 29, 2020.
Shakib's ban meant that he will miss Bangladesh's tour of India and the preparations leading up to the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. And, Mushfiqur got emotional just at the thought of not having him around on the playing field for a year.
"Age level.. international… over 18 years of playing cricket together… very sad to even think about playing without you on the field. Hoping that you come back soon like a champ. You always have my support, and whole of Bangladesh. Stay strong In Sha Allah,” Rahim wrote on Facebook.
Earlier, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also expressed her sadness after the ban on the all-rounder.
"It's clear that Shakib has made a mistake and he's realised that," Hasina was quoted as saying by bdnews24.com. "There's nothing much the government can do about the ICC's decision but BCB will stand by him," she added.
However, former England and Pakistan cricketers Michael Vaughan and Ramiz Raja were not as considerate and were of the opinion that was let off far too easily.
"No sympathy what's so ever for Shakib Al Hasan ... Non what's so ever ... In this era the players get briefed all the time about what they can & cant do and what that have to report straight away ... 2 yrs isn't enough ... Should have been longer...," tweeted Vaughan.
"For all you abusing I have zero tolerance for corruption .. It doesn't matter what team you play for. Players these days know exactly what they can and can't do.. also know they have to report anything...if they don’t they know the consequences," he added.
"So Shakib Al Hasan's ban has a lesson for all sports lovers and sportsmen: if you disregard the game and try to become bigger than the game by sidetracking the laid rules and protocols then be ready for a fantastic fall! Sad," Raja tweeted.
Former Australia cricketer Dean Jones also called Shakib out for not reporting the approaches so many times.
"How many times are these guys lectured? Before EVERY T20 and T10 and other Tournaments...The ICC and ACU officials brief them...#deafears," he wrote.