Twelve years ago, a teenaged left-handed opener, playing in just his fifth ODI for Bangladesh against India in the ICC World Cup in 2007 in the West Indies, came down the track to fast bowler Zaheer Khan and smacked a six that sailed into the stands.
Over the years the dashing opener has emerged as one of the most experienced and assured Bangladesh batsman. Tamim Iqbal is now set to appear in his fourth World Cup in England this summer with a lot of hopes and responsibility on his shoulders.
After the selectors announced a 15-member World Cup squad yesterday, Tamim informed that it was a deserving team but also added that there would be ifs and buts when forming a balanced squad.
“I think it's unfortunate as you can't take everyone as there were quite a few who performed well such as Bijoy [Anamul Haque] was exceptionally good, Forhad Reza also did well but a few players missed out due to the team combination.
“To see Rabbi [Yasir Ali] get in [for the Ireland series] after performing well in the BPL and also in the [Dhaka Premier] League was nice. I think it's a deserving team as there will be ifs and buts but you have to remember that it's not an easy thing to do,” Tamim told The Daily Star at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
When asked whether he really had the belief in the squad, Tamim replied: “I believe in my team, I don't believe in the faces, whoever is playing. If we didn't have Shakib [Al Hasan], Mushfiqur [Rahim], Mahmudullah [Riyad], Tamim or Mashrafe [Bin Mortaza] bhai in the team, wouldn't the others believe in themselves?"
However, according to Tamim, it will be a challenging task for the cricketers to play 14 games on the trot, including the tri-nation series in Ireland, and he urged the need to manage workload issue.
“Firstly, it will be difficult as we will be playing nine in the world cup and a maximum of five in Ireland so it's actually 14 matches. The workload is very important and I don't think that Bangladesh has gone to that level yet. If we rest any important players, people don't take that well as they question why that player was rested?
“You have to realise that all the seniors have crossed their thirties and everybody has played a lot of cricket this year. I am not talking about the world as in some stage in Ireland if a player needs a break or that individual feels like he needs a break to do well in the upcoming matches, we all should take this positively. If you have noticed, although we have played for a long time none of us have played 14 games on the trot in such a short time. So there will be injuries and niggles but we have to manage the workload. It will be important that the players stay fresh when we go for the world cup in England and I would say everyone should eye to play eleven games, not nine -- including the semifinal and final,” Tamim, who also wants to play in the 20123 World Cup, said.
There was a lot of talk about the form of Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar as one of them are expected to open the innings with Tamim, who has a message for the two cricketers. “I have only one message for them as they may not be able to perform in the league as expected, but it's a new tournament. It just takes one or two good knocks to get into the rhythm. I hope they are ready as it can happen when you are in the best of form but you end up doing nothing. We have to keep our head high, which we can work on and they have enough talent to show the world how good they are."