It is sheer bad luck for Bangladesh football that it lost Sakib al Hasan to cricket despite the stage was set for him to become a footballer. His father Khondoker Masroor Reza, who was an eminent footballer in his home town Magura, played football at the divisional level and a cousin Mehedi Hasan Ujjal went on to represent the Bangladesh national football team. Football ran in his blood and was always a first choice game for Sakib until one single call by local cricket coach Saddam Hossain Gorky changed his life. Saddam invited Sakib to practise with his Islampur Para Club, one of the Magura Cricket League teams. Sakib turned up, batted aggressively and bowled the ball fast. That was what he knew best. Then, suddenly, inexplicably, he began to bowl spin – and had the batsmen totally flummoxed. He made the cut for the Islampur team and picked up a wicket with the first ball on his Magura Cricket League debut – his first ever delivery with an actual cricket ball. In a year or so Sakib joined a BKSP talent scouting camp at Narail and was instantly spotted by coach Ashraful Islam Bappi, who helped him in getting admission in Class VIII at the academy under special consideration. That was the massive jump for Sakib towards being crowned the number one one-day all-rounder and the 16th national cricket captain. Nevertheless, it was not an easy ride for Sakib. Originally included in the national side as a batsman, Sakib had taken just three wickets in his first six Tests, but he did not have to look back after he took up the responsibility as the main spinner of Bangladesh. His next 15 Tests fetched him 72 wickets and by that time Sakib also firmly established himself as a batsman in the side. His consistent performance took him to the summit on January 19, 2009 when he was ranked number one one-day all-rounder, a position he still holds. In the absence of injured Mashrafee bin Murtaza he led Bangladesh to an unprecedented clean sweep victory over West Indies in 2009 making him a natural successor to the injury-prone paceman. He took the final wicket in the first Test and hit the winning six in the second Test in the Caribbean, showing all that he is not just a good leader but also a good finisher. An ice-cool man under pressure, Sakib added another feather to his career when he led Bangladesh to a 4-0 ODI sweep against New Zealand in October last year. A born leader, Sakib will remain at the helm until December 2011 at the least and whatever happens next he will remain in the hearts of millions of Bangladesh fans forever for what he has achieved already. ‘I want to lead by examples and would like my team-mates to follow me,’ said Sakib.