'Injury concerns' prompted Tamim's exclusion
Finally, when the dust settled yesterday night after almost 24 hours of speculation and rumorus, it was revealed that the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) did not include seasoned campaigner Tamim Iqbal among the 15 selected to represent the country in the 13th edition of the World Cup, to be played in India from October 5 to November 19.
Although it came as a surprise to the entire nation and the fans, the national selectors had a straightforward reason behind Tamim's exclusion.
"There are some injuries which you can't take a risk with. This is very important. If we include someone and that player suffers from injury after going to the World Cup, then that would see the team management in a fix. So, that's a risk. So, we took this decision after considering all these," chief selector Minhajul Abedin Nannu, addressing the media in Mirpur last night, said while pointing out Tamim's recurring back injury as the main reason behind dropping the opener from the World Cup squad.
This was set to be Tamim's fifth ODI World Cup, having represented the country in every edition of the mega event since mesmerising everyone in his first in the West Indies in 2007.
The exclusion of the country's best opener from one of the biggest cricketing events raised a lot of questions, especially since there were a lot of rumours circulating in mainstream as well as social media.
One such rumour was that skipper Shakib Al Hasan, who will lead the Tigers in the World Cup for the second time after having done so in 2011, was reluctant to captain the side if Tamim was included.
"We were never relayed any such information. We heard many things in the media but nothing of that sort was relayed to us," added Minhajul.
Another rumour suggested that Tamim had informed the board that he would only be able to play five of the compulsory nine games the Tigers are set to play in the mega event in India. Answering this query, Minhajul said: "No. Let me clear this to everyone, we never received any information that Tamim would only play five games or anything like that."
The chief selector repeated a number of times that a proper procedure was followed while deciding the squad.
"The squad is prepared after discussing with the medical department, team management, players, the skipper, and the head coach as well. We followed the same procedure as we normally do in the case of any other player.
"You also have to keep in mind that Tamim could not play the final game against New Zealand. He played the first game, and the second, and then we had to rest him in the final ODI. He felt a bit of pain [in his back] after he batted and fielded in the second game," Minhajul asserted.
It is customary for the selectors to announce the squad and take questions regarding before any major event, but with what had happened since Monday night, probably the selectors were not the right people to face the media yesterday.
Even though the events that transpired in the country's cricketing fraternity yesterday were consistent with how usually things happen almost before every major event, Tamim's exclusion, despite all the reasoning provided by the BCB, keeps a scope for many more questions.
Maybe some of those questions of the curious cricket fans and media personnel will be answered when Tamim speaks up, as the 34-year-old left-handed batter confirmed to The Daily Star yesterday that he would provide his own statement regarding the incident.