Bangladesh veteran opener Tamim Iqbal has lengthened his hiatus from T20I cricket, as he announced that he will not be available for selection in the format for a further six months. In 2021, he opted out of the squad prior to the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE as he wanted youngsters to get a chance to represent their country in the prestigious tournament.
Iqbal’s latest decision could also mean a similar story for the 2022 edition of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to take place in Australia later in the year. However, the 32-year-old has also kept the option of returning to the side earlier open, should the team be in need of his expertise.
He made the announcement after discussions with the Bangladesh Cricket Board, including president Nazmul Hassan, who tried to change his mind. Nevertheless, the player has gone ahead with the decision, having already stayed away from the format for over a year now.
The cricketer, meanwhile, insists that the decision has been made purely for cricketing reasons and is focused on ODIs and Tests for this year, and will only go back on his decision if the team is in a difficult spot.
“In the last few days, I have been doing meetings with the BCB president (Nazmul Hassan) and Jalal (Yunus) bhai and Kazi Inam (Ahmed). They wanted me to continue T20Is till the World Cup (this year). I had a different sort of thinking. I will not be considering T20Is for the next six months.“he said at a press conference at Chattogram.
”My full focus will be on Tests and ODIs. We are preparing for the World Test Championship and qualification for the 2023 World Cup.
I will not be thinking about T20Is in the next six months. I hope that those playing will do so well, that the team won’t need me in T20Is.
But if God forbid the team or cricket board needs me, and I am ready, I will possibly think about it.”he added.
Iqbal stepped away from the T20 World Cup squad on his own accord, as he intended to give the other openers like Sowmya Sarkar and Liton Das an opportunity. Tamim reasoned his decision saying that since he wasn’t part of the build-up to the World Cup, it is only fair that he not feature in the side.
Bangladesh’s highest run-getter in T20Is, Iqbal has played 74 games in his career so far. Despite his abstinence from the national side, he will continue to play for his franchise in the Bangladesh Premier League.
Tamim urged that the younger players be given a chance to play for their country at the highest level so that the future of Bangladesh cricket be in safe hands.
“The team has to go forward. You know my stand ahead of the last T20 World Cup, so it won’t be wise to judge anyone after one or two series. Many of us seniors went through three or four bad series, and then bounced back with maybe three good series on the trot.
Considering those who will play in my place, I am sure they will find their feet and do well,”he said.