After Tamim Iqbal’s heroics last night against Sri Lanka, we look back at instances where cricketers risked further injury and put their bodies on the line for their nation. Tamim might have faced only four deliveries overall but his sheer bravery put the wind right back on Bangladesh’s sails.
In 1984, during the third Test at Headingly, West Indies all-rounder Malcolm Marshall sustained a double fracture of his left thumb while fielding. He was advised by doctors to not only withdraw from the remainder of the Test, but also to stop playing cricket for 10 days as his damaged bones needed healing.
On the third day, Larry Gomes played a different kind of lone hand in an attempt to lift his team past England’s first innings total of 270. At the fall of the ninth wicket, Gomes, stranded on 96 not out was heading back to the pavilion when Marshall came on.
After having his left hand broken by a typically brutal Mitchell Johnson delivery in the first innings and also nursing a seriously injured right elbow (also courtesy of Johnson), Smith retired hurt on 30 during the 2009 Test against Australia at Sydney.
Then with one wicket in hand and 8.2 overs play left in the final day, Australia picked up the ninth South African wicket and were celebrating a win when Smith started to pad up. He faced up to a rampant Johnson and every defensive stroke -- which he played while taking his bottom hand off the handle, much in the way Tamim did yesterday – elicited cheers from the crowd. Smith was removed by an in swinger with just under two overs left in the day.
A rising delivery from Waqar Younis ensured that Sri Lanka’s Arjuna Ranatunga had to go off the field with a debilitating painful hand, leaving Sri Lanka more than 70 runs short and with the tail exposed. With eight wickets down, Ranatunga came out onto the field and secured a memorable two-wicket win for Sri Lanka by putting on a ninth-wicket stand with Romesh Kaluwitharana.
Mushfiqur himself was batting with rib pain yesterday that put his participation in doubt and kept him off the field during Sri Lanka's chase. A tremendous 144-run knock where he played several roles saw him not only overcome adversity of rib pain but also rebuilding the innings and making sure Bangladesh got to a big score. He batted through the pain and also made sure Tamim, who had to bat one-handed would not have to play any more deliveries. The last 15 deliveries he faced, he struck three fours and three sixes, picking up 32 runs while grimacing whenever he played a power stroke.
In 1976, Australia’s Rick Mockster emerged to bat at No.10 even after suffering a broken jaw after being hit by a Bob Willis delivery. But despite the pain he managed to more than just survive, contributing to a ninth-wicket stand of 54 with Rod Marsh. That partnership was to prove vital in the final outcome as Australia won by 45 runs.
Saeed Anwar hit a world-record 194 against India in the scorching hit of Chennai in 1997. He did so while suffering from heat, exhaustion and needed Shahid Afridi as a runner due to a cramp to set a new world-record for the highest ODI score. Sachin Tendulkar called it the best innings he'd seen.
Tamim Iqbal’s Asia Cup tournament was over when a Suranga Lakmal delivery fractured the little finger of his left hand yesterday. Scans revealed the fracture and there was no doubt that Tamim will play no further part in the match. When Mustafizur Rahman fell to a silly run out during the Bangladesh innings, the scoreboard read 229 for nine but the players were making their way back to the dressing room. That is when Tamim braved his injury and with the palm of his left glove partially cut to let his hand jut out of it to accommodate the bandage, entered the field with bat held in right hand. The sight of Tamim, who robbed back on to his backfoot to cope with a delivery which Lakmal dropped short, targeting his body, will live long in the memory of Bangladesh fans as an act of sheer courage. Mushfiqur would ensure that Tamim’s bravery did not go in vain as he added some crucial runs for the 10th wicket with Tamim to put Bangladesh in a strong position as the Tigers won their opening Asia Cup fixture.