'We should be scoring 150s'
Tamim Iqbal became the first Bangladesh batsman to score seven ODI centuries in yesterday's third ODI against Afghanistan which the home side won by 141 runs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. Three of those have come since 2015, a period in which he has averaged 50.52 in 21 matches, as opposed to 29.85 in the 135 matches before 2015.
There have been two crucial changes that have brought about Tamim 2.0. He is fitter than his earlier incarnation, which has enabled him to bat for longer periods -- he had 27 fifties and four hundreds up to 2015, but has since converted three of his nine 50-plus scores into centuries.
This change in stamina, and therefore attitude, was reflected in his words at the post-match press conference. "We should hit more big runs like 150-160," Tamim said when asked if they should be looking to score bigger hundreds. "I always say that you have to maximise the opportunity when you are in good form. When we will do this on a regular basis as batsmen we can progress. It was my opportunity today and I missed it."
The other thing that has helped him score his last three hundreds was seen in the form of Sabbir Rahman yesterday, but others have played the part before. In each of his three hundreds since 2015, there has been at least one batsman who has matched his rate of scoring in a partnership, which in turn allowed Tamim to bat within himself and therefore bat longer.
"He [Sabbir] usually plays at number seven, so I am very happy that he grabbed the opportunity. I hope that he plays at three in the coming matches, and if he does well it will be very good for Bangladesh," Tamim said of his younger teammate.
Tamim was fortunate to have been dropped by Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai when on one in the third over of the match, Mohammad Nabi being the unfortunate bowler. The question about his luck drew a chuckle from Tamim.
"Normally if I get a life I don't play very well; I get out soon," Tamim said. "I didn't even expect that he would drop that catch. So I was trying to forget about that and start afresh, and tried to keep playing cricketing shots."