'If I change my approach, I won't be Shakib'

Shakib Al Hasan, the batsman, can make you pull out your hair. He can ride the bounce of the ball without really getting behind it and get a boundary in front of the wicket. He can find tight angles to play his favourite shot, the cut, and beat both point and third man. He can drive through the covers, with his feet nowhere near the pitch of the ball. He can sweep with his wrists. While he is at the crease, runs can come quickly but, all of a sudden, he can give it all away.

After tackling an immense spell from Umesh Yadav and stemming Bangladesh's fall of wickets on the third day in Hyderabad, Shakib struck 14 boundaries - only one on the leg-side - as as he raced to 82 off 102 balls. He was unrelenting through the off side against pace and spin and was in control the whole time.

Then, his attempted loft over mid-on off R Ashwin reached the fielder. If he hadn't played that shot, Bangladesh would have had their most dominant batsman at the crease for a longer period, which possibly would have given them more comfort. It would have also been a much-deserved milestone had he made the 18 required for his century.

But there is no guarantee that he wouldn't have played the same shot again, next ball. A good start or an impending milestone, a settled partnership or a foreseeable draw - he will get the team out of a jam or get himself in with high-risk shots. If it doesn't connect, he will get out. You can ask him many questions about this approach, but he won't budge.

This is Shakib. I am what I am, he says.

"I like to contribute for the team," Shakib said. "Obviously even I am not happy [when I get out], even if I've scored 217. I wanted to score more for the team. But I know that's not going to happen. Just for this, I am not going to change my style of play. If I change it, I don't think I will be Shakib. That's my way of thinking."

There's no regret in missing out on the hundred but he knows he could have lasted longer.

"Actually, I don't think about so many things when I go to bat," he said. "If I wouldn't have been out I would have scored a hundred and it would have been good if I could have batted for a longer period for my team.

"[But] when I bat, I don't think about all these things [like milestones]. I keep batting. I like to play shots. Sometimes I am successful, sometimes I am not. I don't really think much about it because this is my natural game and I like to play this way."

His reasoning for today's high-risk innings was also quite simple: Bangladesh would have fallen in trouble if he had been dismissed while trying to play differently.

"If I had got out for 10, what would have happened? We would have been 140 for 5 rather than 240 for 5."

He made it clear, repeatedly, that his method will not change despite the situation. While his comments can be digested today thanks to Mushfiqur Rahim and Mehedi Hasan's fighting partnership for the seventh wicket, Shakib's approach has cost Bangladesh many times.

As recently as last month, Shakib threw away his wickets in the second innings in both the Wellington and Christchurch Tests with Bangladesh fighting for survival. The Wellington shot took some sheen off his 217 in the first innings of the Test.

Against England in Chittagong in October, he was stumped after charging at Moeen Ali off the second ball of the day, with Bangladesh nearing some control. He got out and Bangladesh collapsed.

His counter-attacking method has also worked in the past, but he has mixed it with brain implosions that defied logic. In 2015, against Pakistan in Dhaka, Shakib's charge at Mohammad Hafeez derailed Bangladesh's effort to save the game after they had been impressive in the previous game in Khulna, where Shakib himself had saved the game with an unbeaten 76.

In the Harare Test that Bangladesh won in 2013, Shakib struck twin fifties but both times - on 81 and 59 - didn't curb his attacking intent and got out edging heaves across the line.

Batting on 97 and 96? Hardly matters. Shakib will go for a loft over mid-off, either get caught there or get stumped by missing the ball entirely. The holed-out dismissal happened in 2013 against West Indies in Khulna and the stumping in 2010 against England in Dhaka.

There was also the cheeky lap-sweep he tried with Bangladesh, again, trying to approach a draw on the fifth day against West Indies in Dhaka in 2011.

Shakib isn't the only one who plays rash shots. Most batsmen in the Bangladesh batting line-up are susceptible to such thinking from time to time. But when Shakib gets out his dressing room loses confidence, and the opposition know they have got the big fish.

Perhaps this is why the last question of the press conference in Hyderabad - from a senior Bangladeshi journalist - was about whether he was willing to change his approach.

He just shook his head and said, "No."