The proof is in the paya | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 17, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 17, 2018

The proof is in the paya

Tamim Iqbal has developed into a good chef with the help of Youtube and the evidence of that was a delicious paya curry for a dinner he hosted at his place on Wednesday when his wife Ayesha Siddiqua was out of town.

Much like necessity dictated his eagerness to learn the art of cooking, Tamim the batsman has matured and evolved over the years -- starting his international career as a flamboyant batsman and gradually developing into one of the most assured and technically sound batsmen in the Bangladesh team.

A perfectionist, Tamim has kept pushing his limits, be it with his approach or the improvement in technique to deal with the world's best bowlers in any condition -- the best example of which came in the just-concluded tour of West Indies.

Before the tour, Tamim chose to prepare himself with the pace-friendly Caribbean conditions in mind and studied videos of Sri Lanka's tour of West Indies which preceded Bangladesh's voyage.

The videos contained dos and don'ts for the batsman when facing the West Indies pacers. He imbibed those lessons and worked accordingly even during the Eid-ul-Fitr  break.

It was not the best of starts in the first Test in Antigua as he scored just four and 13 in the two innings, the first of which saw Bangladesh bowled out for their lowest Test score of 43. The left-hander then corrected course and prepared in a manner so as not to repeat mistakes, and the proof was in a patient 47 in the first innings of the second Test before being bowled by a brilliant Paul delivery.

He was trapped leg-before in the second innings by Jason Holder for a duck but at least he continued to set the example of learning from mistakes -- a rare highlight in an otherwise sordid match as Bangladesh crumbled to a 2-0 Test series defeat.

“I tried to prepare myself keeping the Caribbean conditions in mind, and maybe I was unable to score in the Test series but I can say that I tried my best. I am not giving any excuses over the poor performance and maybe I should prepare myself even better than before for Tests,” Tamim said on Wednesday night.

His hard work and tendency to keep himself updated with the need of the hour eventually paid off in the limited over series where Tamim went on to score two hundreds and a fifty in the three ODIs and was named player of the series.

Tamim's unbeaten 130 in the first ODI may have been the slowest hundred -- reached off his 146th delivery -- by a Bangladeshi batsman in ODIs but his next thirty runs came off just 14 deliveries, showing that he can apply the mantra of adaptability to individual innings too. He was well accompanied by Shakib Al Hasan, who fell three runs short of his hundred during Bangladesh's highest second-wicket partnership of 207.

“The partnership was very crucial after the Test series. It was not an easy wicket to bat on and if Shakib or I had thrown our wickets away it would have become difficult. With that in mind, we kept concentrating without looking at the scoreboard and took our time -- it was the only option for us to score runs,” he said after training in Mirpur yesterday.

That game awareness and responsibility was not seen in most of the junior members of the side, nor is there much evidence of the youngsters learning from the preparations of the side's senior batsmen. While backing the juniors to come good, Tamim said that players have to be honest with themselves to rectify mistakes.

“If cricketers don't take up the challenge then there is no point. It's important to be thirsty. For example, it won't do to give the excuse that the wicket was difficult in the Test series; instead we should have taken that as a challenge, which we were unable to do,” Tamim added.

Tamim's thirst for improvement is now well documented, and it can be hoped that he will continue finding new ways to score runs, and some recipes too.

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