In the lead-up to the World Cup, a public feud between two of Bangladesh’s senior cricket players, Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, has come to light. These two left-handed batsmen, who were once close friends, have now fallen out and their differences have become quite evident. The Bangladesh Cricket Board president had previously disclosed this rift earlier in the year. The tension between them escalated when Bangladesh announced their final 15-member squad for the World Cup. Here’s a closer look at what unfolded:
On a Tuesday, when Bangladesh revealed their final 15-member squad for the World Cup, Tamim’s name was notably missing from the list. The selectors cited Tamim’s back injury as the reason for his omission. However, Shakib later disclosed in an interview with a sports channel that Tamim had refused to bat at No. 3 in their first World Cup match against Afghanistan. Shakib went on to criticize Tamim, calling him ‘childish’ and suggesting that he wasn’t a team player. He also expressed his dissatisfaction with Tamim stepping down from the captaincy just a couple of months before the World Cup, believing such a decision should have been made earlier.
Shakib voiced his opinion, saying, “A player should be willing to bat at any position for the team. Team comes first. Personal achievements, whether it’s making 100 or 200 runs, don’t matter if the team loses. What can you achieve with personal records? Are you looking to make a name for yourself? It’s not a team-oriented approach. People fail to understand these aspects. Why was the proposal made to him? It was for the sake of the team. What’s wrong with that? You become a team player when you accept such proposals. If you don’t think along these lines, you’re not a team player. You’re playing for individual records, personal success, fame, and recognition, not for the team.”
Since his surprising retirement announcement in July, which he later reversed, Tamim’s place in the squad has been a topic of speculation in the Bangladesh media. The opener, who holds the record for the most runs scored by a Bangladeshi in this format, took some time off to recover from his recurring back injury. Tamim returned to play in the recently concluded home series against New Zealand, where he scored a half-century. Shortly after the World Cup squad was announced, Tamim posted a video message on his Facebook page, asserting that he had no fitness issues. He mentioned, “I informed the selectors (after the second ODI against New Zealand) that this is my physical condition. I’ll have some discomfort. So, please consider this when selecting the team.”
Tamim also revealed that he rejected a suggestion from a Bangladesh Cricket Board official to bat at No. 3. He explained, “The official suggested that if I played, they were planning to move me down the batting order. You need to understand my mindset at that moment. I had just played a good innings and was feeling content. Suddenly, there was this discussion about changing my position. It was hard for me to accept. I’ve been playing in the same position for 17 years. I’ve never batted at No. 3 or 4. I have no experience batting in the middle order. Naturally, I didn’t take this conversation well. I didn’t like what the official said. I felt like I was being forced into a different role. So, if you have this mindset, I said, don’t include me in the World Cup. I don’t want to be a part of this discord,” Tamim conveyed in the video message.
All this drama has left Bangladesh, a team that secured an automatic spot in the World Cup and was building its squad for the tournament, in disarray. Only time will tell if Bangladesh can set aside these issues and come together as a unified team.