Tamim’s class act sets an example
Just a few hours before the first T20I between Bangladesh and New Zealand began yesterday, Tamim Iqbal, who had been missing in action from the T20I line-up for the past 17 months, went live from his Facebook page and announced that he will not be available for the upcoming T20 World Cup in UAE.
Tamim termed it as a 'small announcement' but it was anything but that. Since making his T20I debut in 2007, the dashing left-hander has held the position as Tigers' opener in all formats through dominating displays.
He has played in all six T20 World Cups for the Tigers till date and is also Bangladesh's only centurion in not only T20I World Cups but also in the format itself. Given his stature in Bangladesh cricket, Tamim not playing a World Cup was still pretty unthinkable given how he has led the side through his mentality and his ability throughout.
Tamim however, had his reasons. He cited that a key factor was his absence in the format for such an extended period of time, also adding that while injury issues have played a part in making up his mind, he expected to be fit in time before the mega event. The biggest reason was based on how Tamim felt about being an automatic choice in the format, thus setting a big example of professionalism and big-heartedness.
"I haven't played in the last 15-16 T20s and I don't think it would be fair to take the place of someone who was playing during this time period," he said. Tamim knew that he was going to be included in the World Cup side but he felt it would have been unjust. He also made it quite clear that he was not retiring from T20s yet, rather opting out from the upcoming World Cup.
"I think the young players who are playing should get the chance and their preparation will be better than mine," he reiterated.
The 32-year-old last played a T20I in March 2020 and while the performances of his T20 career did not always match his calibre, he would have been a valuable asset nonetheless, due to his experience. But Tamim was also in the right frame of mind to take a difficult decision, which from his perspective was the best for the team.
The selectors had perhaps hung back, waiting to make a decision on Tamim or for him to take one for them. As a senior player and one of the stalwarts in the side, Tamim had set the Tigers free ahead of a crucial tournament.
Usually in Bangladesh cricket's history, such matters often have bitter ends, but Tamim's announcement sets an example of a senior player taking a decision through his own realizations. What Tamim's decision essentially means is a show of confidence towards the younger players from a senior member and it remains to be seen if that confidence can reap rewards in the upcoming World Cup.