Tamim Iqbal‘s decision to drop out of the upcoming T20 World Cup has been met with praise from two influential names in Bangladesh cricket. Former captain Mashrafe Mortaza wrote a long message on his personal Facebook account, calling Tamim’s choice a visionary one. BCB president Nazmul Hassan, meanwhile, revealed that Tamim was in Bangladesh’s World Cup squad, but had to be withdrawn after he informed the board of his decision.
In a video message on his social media platforms on Wednesday, hours before Bangladesh’s first T20I against New Zealand, Tamim announced that lack of T20Is this year and the fact that other openers are tried in his place, were some of the reasons for his decision to withdraw from the world tournament.
Tamim had been a regular in the T20I side for 12 years. Between his debut in September 2007 and the end of 2018, he missed only 13 of the 84 T20Is Bangladesh played, but since 2019, he has featured in only three out of 23 T20Is, and none this year. He cited personal reasons for missing the three-match series against New Zealand in March, before a knee injury forced him to miss the three T20Is against Zimbabwe and last month’s Australia series.
Mashrafe said that Tamim avoided unnecessary pressure on his good form in Tests and ODIs, by skipping the T20 World Cup. “Everyone should respect Tamim’s decision,” Mashrafe said. “There’s no doubt that Tamim is one of the best batsmen in Bangladesh. His statistics says so. He had every qualification to play in the T20 World Cup, and it is well know that the cricket board and team management would keep him in the squad.
“Tamim will continue to be one of the best batsmen but nobody wants to see him lose form by playing T20s forcibly. Tamim has a lot more matches to win for Bangladesh. There were reasons behind his decision. His injury being one of them. He hasn’t played the last 16 (sic 12) matches. He would create a lot of pressure on himself when playing after such a long break. It could affect his form in Tests and ODIs.”
Hassan, for his part, said that Tamim took a good decision by considering all sides of the situation. He confirmed that they had selected Tamim in the World Cup-bound squad.
“He was our first choice. He was in the T20 World Cup squad. But after he informed us, he is no longer in the team. He will play more World Cups in the future. It was a brave decision, not as easy one.
“Everyone wants to play the World Cup, but he thought about it and then spoke to us. He thought there would be injustice if he gets to play ahead of those playing now,” said Hassan.
Mashrafe praised Tamim for respecting the incumbents Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Naim and Liton Das after they were severely criticised for their form. These three players, he predicted, will in turn have tremendous commitment when they next play ODIs under Tamim. “They are playing on wickets where nobody except (Mahmudullah) Riyad has touched fifty. It would be unfair to judge Soumya, Naim and Liton before they get to play on true batting wickets. These boys have worked hard in the (home) series.
“Some decisions change people’s lives. After this decision, Soumya, Liton and Naim will give their all when they next play an ODI under Tamim. This is because whatever anyone else thought, Tamim valued their hard work,” he said.
Mashrafe, however, suggested Tamim may have felt the pressure even in the dressing room had he walked into the playing XI after missing at least 12 T20Is this year. “Tamim is well liked in the dressing room but maybe he thought deeply about how he would be welcomed into the side after he missed 16 (sic 12) matches in the format,” he said.
Tamim was predictably kept off the list of contracted players for T20Is when the BCB announced the central contracts for all three formats.