It's difficult being an all-rounder, says Shakib

Shakib hasn't yet decided on playing county cricket this season as he wants to take a break after IPL-5.

To play good cricket, one needs to stay away from cricket too: Shakib Al Hasan.

Shakib Al Hasan, who recently replaced Australia's Shane Watson as the top-ranked all-rounder in one-day internationals, has said he finds it difficult to keep both his batting and bowling going at all times.

"It's difficult to keep both going - batting and bowling. I feel it is hard to concentrate on both in training. I have seen that if I take one discipline and work on it, it gets better. But to work on both is a bit difficult. So you have to let one go at times," Shakib told Cricinfo in an interview. Shakib also said he wants to improve on his ability to finish and win matches for Bangladesh apart from working on his bowling.

Shakib scored 237 runs and took six wickets in the recently concluded Asia Cup, where Bangladesh lost to Pakistan by two runs in a thriller of a final. Shakib admitted he was upset with himself after being dismissed for 68 in the Asia Cup final, which swung the match Pakistan's way and that was the reason for him openly expressing his disappointment and frustration.

He, however, feels the unexpected good performance of Bangladesh in the Asia Cup has helped the team set new goals and made them more confident for future home series. Shakib said the priority for Bangladesh over the next couple of years is to become unbeatable at home, at least in ODIs.

"India still has trouble away from home, so I think we should become tough competitors at home, and in the next year or two, no one can come and whitewash us easily. We may not win Tests because we haven't got the attack to take 20 wickets. We need genuine bowlers to take 20 wickets, but we will win one-day games," he said.

When asked how he deals with the pressure in the middle, Shakib stated, good players are those who can handle pressure well, adding he "doesn't think about much more than cricket and his life is all about the game".

Talking about how he constructs his innings, Shakib said he bats normally when he first goes into bat dependent on the match situation. Shakib said taking a lot of singles helps him start his innings well and with the occasional boundary, he maintains a pretty high strike rate. His ODI career figures support these statements as Shakib has scored 3635 runs, including five centuries at an average of 35.63 and strike rate of 78.07 in 126 matches.

Shakib, who has played county cricket for Worcestershire, said that stint gave him ample opportunities to work on the areas in his game that he felt needed improvement. "This is where professionalism kicks in: to bat an extra hour or to bowl or to do some extra work on the field. It depends on how honest I am with my work," he added.

Shakib, however, said he hasn't yet decided on playing county cricket this season as he wants to take a break after the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League, in which he plays for Kolkata Knight Riders. He hasn't taken too much time away from the game in the last couple of years and feels "to play good cricket, one needs to stay away from cricket too."