Who is Tamim Iqbal?

Who is Tamim Iqbal?

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When people discuss openers from the subcontinent, they often focus on their aggressive playing style. Virender Sehwag, Sanath Jayasuriya, and Sachin Tendulkar have mercilessly dismantled bowlers throughout their careers. But a Bangladeshi opener quickly joined their ranks and captured the world’s attention.

Early and Personal Life of Tamim Iqbal

Tamim comes from a lineage of cricketers, and it’s safe to say that the love for the sport runs in his family’s veins. Tamim was born in the city of Chittagong to Iqbal Khan and Nusrat Iqbal Khan. His father’s family, the Khans, is respected in the city and they came to Chittagong from Bihar. His mother’s family is from Salempur in Uttar Pradesh. Tamim has a brother named Nafees Iqbal and an uncle named Akram Khan, who both played Test cricket for Bangladesh.

Tamim’s father, Iqbal, used to organize small cricket tournaments to help his sons improve their cricket skills. Nafees, Tamim’s brother and a former national team cricketer, once said in an interview, “Tamim was the more talented one. When Tamim was 12 or 13, he scored 148 runs while chasing a target of 150.”

Tamim got married to Ayesha Siddiqa in June 2013. They had a grand wedding ceremony in Chittagong, and even former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia attended the event. Tamim and Ayesha welcomed their first son, Arham, on 28 February 2016. Their first daughter, Alishba, was born on 19 November 2019.

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Tamim Iqbal’s Transformative Cricket Years

Tamim Iqbal got his first century against Ireland, but it was his great performance against Zimbabwe in Harare in 2009 that made him really famous. Charles Coventry didn’t get out and matched Saeed Anwar’s highest score of 194. However, Tamim made a powerful comeback and hit the highest score ever by a Bangladeshi batsman. His 154 runs had seven fours and six sixes, helping Bangladesh win the game.

In ODIs, his performance has been a bit up and down, but when it comes to Test matches, he has been truly impressive. He made a stylish entrance into Test cricket by scoring fifty runs in both innings of his debut match against New Zealand in Dunedin back in 2008. He achieved his first-ever Test century against the West Indies in 2009 at Kingstown, which not only showcased his skills but also helped Bangladesh secure their first test victory on foreign soil. He had a remarkable innings of 151 runs against India in Dhaka, but it was when facing the English bowlers that he truly excelled.

Whenever he played against England in Test matches, he consistently scored over fifty runs in five out of six innings. His most memorable moment came during the tour to England, where he etched his name on the prestigious honours board at Lord’s as the first Bangladeshi player to score a century. He continued his success by scoring another century at Old Trafford, marking the end of a fantastic summer. His outstanding performances during that tour led to him being recognized as the Cricketer of the Year by Wisden in 2011. Currently, he has become the second Bangladeshi cricketer to represent an English county team, having joined Nottinghamshire.

Also in 2011, Tamim Iqbal made history as the second Bangladeshi cricketer to play county cricket in England, following in the footsteps of Shakib Al Hasan. He joined Nottinghamshire in June that year as a temporary replacement for Australian player David Hussey, who had been called up to the national team.

During his time with Nottinghamshire, Tamim played five matches and scored a total of 104 runs, with his highest individual score being 47. Although his batting was described as solid but not overly impressive by the Nottingham Post, Tamim himself felt that he could have done better but was content with his performance, considering the circumstances.

Even though he was playing in a foreign country, Tamim faced pressure from the media back in Bangladesh to perform well, particularly when Nottinghamshire faced Worcestershire, who had Shakib Al Hasan in their team. Tamim’s achievements sometimes even made it to the front pages of the newspapers.

During Bangladesh’s tour of Sri Lanka in March 2013, Tamim was initially not selected for the first Test. However, he made a comeback in the second Test and scored 10 and 59 in the respective innings. In the first ODI of the series, Tamim achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first Bangladeshi player to score a century against Sri Lanka, contributing 112 runs off 136 balls. When Sri Lanka visited Bangladesh in February 2014, Tamim had a quiet series and was unable to play in the ODIs due to a neck sprain. He returned to the squad for the 2014 Asia Cup and World T20 tournaments but struggled to score the runs his team needed.

In July 2014, he represented the Rest of the World side in the Bicentenary Celebration match at Lord’s. Following the 2015 World Cup, Tamim made a strong comeback against Pakistan. His exceptional performances of 132, 116, and 64 in the three-match ODI series earned him the Man of the Series award and played a crucial role in Bangladesh’s first-ever whitewash of Pakistan.

He continued his impressive form in Test matches as well, scoring a double century in the second innings in Khulna, helping Bangladesh secure a draw against Pakistan for the first time in Test cricket. He was also a vital member of the Bangladesh team that achieved series victories against India and South Africa in the same year. In the matches against Zimbabwe, he scored 132 runs across three games, leading Bangladesh to win all four bilateral ODI series at home in 2015.

Tamim had to skip the 2016 Asia Cup because his first child was born. But he returned for the ICC WT20, which took place in India. Bangladesh had to play qualifying matches, and Tamim performed exceptionally well as an opener. In their first tournament match against the Netherlands, he scored an unbeaten 83 runs. Then, in a crucial match against Oman, he hit a remarkable century, scoring 103 runs off just 63 balls. This made him the first Bangladeshi to achieve a century in T20I cricket, and he became the first player from his country to score centuries in all formats. Unfortunately, Bangladesh couldn’t maintain their winning streak in the Super-10 stage and failed to win any games.

In the ODI series against Afghanistan, Tamim played a crucial role in securing a 2-1 victory for Bangladesh. He scored 80 runs in the first match and an impressive 118 runs in the third match. In October 2016, during a match against England, Tamim became the first Bangladeshi batsman to reach 5000 runs in One Day Internationals (ODIs). Continuing his excellent form in Test cricket, he scored his eighth Test century at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium and followed it up with a solid 40 runs in the second innings. These performances helped Bangladesh achieve their first-ever Test victory against England, resulting in a 1-1 draw in the series.

In the early part of 2017, Tamim didn’t contribute significantly except for a fifty in the first innings of the first Test against New Zealand. However, he regained his form in Sri Lanka, scoring 207 runs in two matches. In Bangladesh’s 100th Test match, he received the Man of the Match award for his mature innings of 82 runs in the second innings, which led the team to chase down a target of 191. He continued his exceptional performance by scoring his eighth century in the 50-over format, demolishing Sri Lanka in the first ODI.

Tamim carried his impressive run-scoring streak into the tri-series involving Ireland and New Zealand, accumulating 199 runs with an average of around 66. In the Champions Trophy held in England, he set the stage on fire with a dazzling 128 runs in the tournament opener and followed it up with scores of 95, 0, and 70. Although Bangladesh lost to India in the quarter-finals, they surprised many by eliminating both Australia and New Zealand from the tournament.

The period from 2016 to 2017 marked Bangladesh’s rise in Test cricket, with victories against Sri Lanka, England, and Australia. These achievements were made possible by the exceptional performance of senior players, particularly Tamim Iqbal, who had been a crucial part of Bangladesh’s batting lineup for over a decade.

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Tamim Iqbal’s Captaincy

After Mashrafe Mortaza stepped down as the ODI captain of Bangladesh in March 2020, Tamim was appointed as the new captain on 8 March 2020. Following his appointment, Bangladesh played their first ODI series under his leadership against the Windies in January 2021. Bangladesh performed exceptionally well, winning the series with a clean sweep of 3-0. Tamim played a crucial role in the series, scoring a total of 158 runs and emerging as the highest run-scorer.

In May 2021, Sri Lanka visited Bangladesh for a 3-match ODI series. Bangladesh won the first two matches convincingly but faced defeat in the third match. Despite the loss, Bangladesh secured the series victory with a score of 2-1. This series win was significant as it marked Bangladesh’s first bilateral series victory against Sri Lanka, highlighting the team’s progress under Tamim’s captaincy.

Tamim Iqbal’s Retirement Saga

The Bangladesh cricket scene had experienced a tumultuous period in the past few days, from July 4 to July 7, reaching its lowest point when Tamim unexpectedly announced his retirement from international cricket, just three months before the World Cup.

However, on a positive note for Bangladesh cricket, the situation took a turn for the better on Friday evening. Tamim, accompanied by his wife, Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan, and former captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza, had a meeting with the Prime Minister at Ganabhaban.

During their discussion, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged Tamim to reconsider his decision. In a change of heart, Tamim decided to reverse his retirement and make a comeback to competitive cricket after taking a break for a month and a half. He will now be available to play in the upcoming Asia Cup.

Final Thoughts

Tamim Iqbal’s current situation in the Bangladesh cricket world is marked by uncertainty. While he has been a stalwart of the team for many years, his recent struggles with form and injuries have raised questions about his future. As younger talents emerge and competition for places intensifies, Tamim finds himself at a crossroads in his career. However, his experience, leadership qualities, and undeniable talent cannot be overlooked. It remains to be seen whether he can overcome these challenges and rediscover his best form, or if the time has come for him to make way for the next generation of cricketers. Whatever the future holds, Tamim Iqbal’s contributions to Bangladesh cricket will always be remembered and celebrated.

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