Tamim Iqbal – undisputedly is the best opener and the best batter for his country. To date, in his 17 years of glorious career, this man scored a whooping 8357 runs in one-day International, the format in which he was the captain just a few months back. During his tenure, Bangladesh stood 3rd in the ICC ODI Super League which was one of the biggest achievements in their cricket history. Apart from that he scored 5134 runs in tests and another 1701 runs in t20 cricket. So far, Tamim is the highest run-getter in ODI cricket and also across the formats which is 15,192 runs in total. Following his Mushfiqur Rahim is the second top scorer who has 14,459 runs combined.
Again, Tamim has got 25 centuries and 94 half-centuries across the formats. No other Bangladeshi batter has more centuries than him to date. Current skipper Shakib Al Hasan has scored 98 fifties but managed to touch the triple-figure just 14 times. So, you can’t question this man for what he did for his team. After the Covid pandemic, when the management handed over the duty of Odi leadership to him, Tamim made a lot of achievements like beating a Sena country – South Africa on their home soil, making it to the top 3 teams in ICC one-day Super League.
However, from the beginning of this year, Tamim was under tremendous pressure and said goodbye to his international career. A lot of dramatic incidents have taken place since then. Within 24 hours, he broke his retirement given the fact the prime minister of Bangladesh requested him to do so. Subsequently, he went through a rehabilitation process from the injury and after two months of hardship, he finally was available for the New Zealand series. In the first ODI, Bangladesh couldn’t manage to bat due to rain and Tamim felt a little bit of pain after the game. Then, in the next match, he scored 44 runs off 58 balls where he struck seven 4s. Another senior player, Mahmudullah made a reappearance at the same time and scored the highest run for his team during that match which was 49.
Needless to say, after that game everyone thought that Tamim was going to catch the flight for India but to utter surprise, another drama began. Numerous rumours swirled around the media. A source from the BCB officials stated that Tamim told them, he won’t be able to play more than 5 matches and isn’t fully fit. There was news on the views of coach Chandika Hathurusingha and captain Shakib Al Hasan who were not interested in picking a not fully fit batter. Even there were citations that, Tamim himself told the management that he didn’t want to go to India.
Hopefully, Tamim cleared the issue on the evening of 27 September 2023 in a Facebook live from his official page. The former skipper spoke for 12 minutes and 9 seconds where he evidently and honestly told what happened in July. How coaching staff at first agreed to let him play in the Afghanistan series and later humiliated him in front of the media and pressurized him to leave cricket. The history repeated itself yet again this time. After playing that knock against the black caps, Tamim was discussing his fitness with the medical team and the rest is known to everyone. Tamim alleged to the management saying, ‘A board official, who is very much involved with the team, called me and told me not to play the first game against Afghanistan. When I wanted to play given the fact that the match was scheduled 13 days after the incident, he told me to play in the lower order. But, in my 17 years career, I never played in at 3,4 or 5.’ After that, he told the official that he was not interested in being the victim of the malpractice of the team. He added, ‘One incident could be coincidental, two incidents could be misunderstanding, but when a person faces 7 or 8 such exploitation within 3 to 4 months it’s intentional – this is what I felt.’
Tamim’s last words were much more emotional. The bade a stroke of good luck to the team and asked everyone to pray for him and put an ending to the video saying, ‘Stay safe. Pray for me and I will make one request – keep me in your minds, don’t forget me. Thank you.’
To tell the truth, people can’t forget Tamim. This man did his best for his country. Whether it was the moment from the Asia Cup when he batted with a broken finger which could end his career or when he entertained people with his Facebook lives with national and international figures during the harsh time of lockdown. He will be one of the brightest stars in the sky of Bangladesh cricket
Written By: Shafin Hasan Tahmeed