Smarting from his demotion from the vice-captain’s role since September 5 when the BCB (Bangladesh Cricket Board) suddenly sacked him and Shakib Al Hasan from the leadership positions, Tamim Iqbal finally turned the corner with a solid score yesterday.
Though he looked good during the BCB Cup, Tamim’s dismissal in the first innings of the practice four-dayer was a window to his mental make-up. He nicked a Shahadat Hossain delivery that he tried to leave in the third over of the innings, edging it onto the stumps.
On the fourth and final day Thursday and his side chasing 234 for victory, it was the Tamim everyone has gotten used to since 2009. With a remodelled stance and more shots on the leg-side, Tamim moulded himself from a one-shot wonder to a proper Test opener under the tutelage of Jamie Siddons. For two years, success followed the left-hander from Chittagong at the crease, with the Tigers’ vice-captaincy following at the start of this year.
But an ordinary World Cup and the calamitous Zimbabwe tour later, it seemed as if Tamim’s painstakingly built fortress was about to crack. With the international season about to start at home and the Tigers out to prove themselves yet again, it was always important that a firing Tamim was on top of his game. The hammer-and-tongs 77 on Thursday was enough to suggest that it was slowly coming back to Tamim.
“I was mentally disturbed for the last few days but now I am again started to enjoy batting,” he said at the end of the game when he also received the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack who chose him as one of four Cricketers of the Year for 2011.
“It was tough for me for whatever happened. Everybody knows what had happened. Whatever happened for the last few months was bad for me but receiving this award will boost me up for sure,” said Tamim, though he avoided mentioning the stripping of the vice-captaincy explicitly.
“I could not do the things regarding my batting that I could do earlier in the four-day and Test match, so I was disturbed,” he simply added.
The opener found the BCB Green bowlers to his liking and as he smacked the nine fours and three sixes during his 87-ball knock, it became clear that this was the type of batting he loved.
“I won’t say I started very well but I think the way I batted after lunch is the way I should play.
“Even if I had got out earlier, I would be satisfied because I like to bat in this manner,” he said.
His 145-run quickfire stand with Imrul Kayes also laid the ghosts of the Meherpur-born left-hander’s poor form since the Australia series. According to Tamim, the four-dayer was Imrul’s tonic.
“I think this practice match have benefited Imrul Kayes the most as he got some runs. We all knew that he was a class player but somehow he could not score.
“In the last two innings, he really came back to form which I think will be a big bonus for us. Imrul is a proven player so he doesn’t have to prove anything. I hope he will continue it in the West Indies series,” said Tamim.
For a cricketer, a demotion or exclusion has two effects but it is now clear that Tamim is slowly on his way out of the rut.
Next step would be to use the removal as an inspiration.
-With The Daily Star input