Bangladesh’s Tamim Reverses Shock Retirement on PM’s Orders

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CHITTAGONG: Bangla­desh cricketer Tamim Iqbal withdrew his retirement from international cricket Friday — a day after shocking team-mates with his sudden resignation — saying Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had ordered him to change his mind.

The veteran opener, 34, broke down crying while announcing the immediate end to his international career after leading his side to Wednesday’s 17-run defeat in the first of a three-match one-day series against Afghanistan.

But on Friday, Tamim said he had a change of heart after being asked to return to the game by the Bangladeshi leader.

“I can say no to everyone except the most important person in the country,” he said outside Hasina’s official residence in Dhaka. “We had a long discussion. She has instructed me to return to cricket. I am withdrawing my retirement.”

Accompanying Tamim to the meeting was Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan, who earlier called Tamim’s professionalism into question for playing Wednesday’s match despite admitting he was not 100 percent fit.

“Having seen his press conference, I knew that he was being emotional about his decision,” Hassan said. “I knew that if we could sit face-to-face, I could find a solution.”

Hassan said Tamim would take a six-week break to undergo injury rehab and prepare “physically and mentally” for his return in time for the Asia Cup in September.

Local broadcasters showed fans staging impromptu celebrations in the port city of Chittagong, Tamim’s hometown, after the decision was announced live on television.

The meeting took place hours after selectors named wicket-keeper/batter Liton Das as captain for the remainder of the series against Afghanistan.

Earlier in the day, Liton said Tamim’s resignation had taken the team by surprise.

“None of us could realise this decision was coming,” he told reporters. “He gave the Bangladesh team a lot for so many years.”

Tamim has established himself as one of the country’s most dependable players and is the only Bangladeshi to score centuries in all three formats of the game.

The 34-year-old batsman has scored 8,313 runs in his 241 ODIs for Bangladesh, hitting 14 centuries — both run-scoring statistics the highest by any Bangladeshi batsman.

‘BIG CHANCE FOR US’

Bangladesh have called up opener Rony Talukdar, 32, for the remaining two matches against Afghanistan. The right-hander made his ODI debut in May against Ireland.

Afghanistan captain Hashmat­ullah Shahidi said his side relished their chances to seal the series in the second match with Tamim’s absence.

“I don’t know what happened with them because I focus on us. Yeah, you can say it’s surprising for everyone that he left in between the series,” he said.

“Tomorrow is a big chance for us to take (series) 2-0… I know they will come hard at us but we are ready.”

Shahidi said left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi, who was unable to complete his final over in the opening match, is fit again.

“I think he had cramps because it’s hot weather here. He is good, God willing, and we will see him in the nets today,” he said.

The third and final match of the series will be held in Chittagong on July 11. Bangladesh won both their prior ODI series at home against Afghanistan 2-1. Afghanistan conclude their tour with two T20 matches in Sylhet on July 14 and 16.

Source: Dawn News