“I was deliberately excluded from the squad"
In a candid video posted on his official Facebook page, Tamim Iqbal has dismissed the rumours claiming that he had committed to participating in just five matches during the 2023 World Cup.
Bangladesh had recently revealed their squad for the tournament on September 26.
Prior to the announcement, speculations had circulated implying that Tamim would be limited to playing only five matches.
However, in a video, Tamim addressed this issue, among other matters, putting an end to the speculations. He states:
“Whatever the media has written over the past few days is completely different from the facts.
“I want to tell you the truth because Bangladesh cricket fans deserve to know the truth.
“Two months ago, I retired and, at the request of the Prime Minister, retracted my decision.
“The trainers and physios will tell you how hard I have worked on my fitness since then.
“There was not a single session, single exercise they asked me to do and I did not.
“As the games approached, I was not in a very happy mental space.
“You will probably understand if you think what I have been through over the past four-five months.
“After that [New Zealand] game, I was very happy mentally. I could shrug off what had happened in the last four to five months and was looking forward to playing again.”
However, there was a problem, as he revealed:
“When you return from an injury, there will naturally be some discomfort, some pain.
“I felt some pain after both these matches. But just as I reported this to the physiotherapist, the three selectors entered the dressing room.
“Let me clarify that at no point did I tell anyone that I shall not play more than five matches.
“Even Nannu-bhai (BCB selector Minhajul Abedin Nannu) clarified this yesterday. I have no clue who fed this to the media.
“What I actually told the selectors was, ‘See, the pain will be there, this is how my body is going to be. Please keep this in mind when you pick the squad.
“I could have played all nine matches at the World Cup because apart from the first two games, there is a gap of three to four days between any two matches.
“At the same time, I could have picked up an injury, and be replaced. That can happen to anyone.”
After their conversation, Tamim stated that he went back to the hotel.
The BCB medical team evaluated his level of discomfort both on that day and the following day.
Despite experiencing some discomfort, Tamim clarified that his condition was not indicative of an injury.
Tamim admitted he received a call from a “top-level board official”, who asked him to sit out of Bangladesh’s first match against Afghanistan at the World Cup on October 7.
“That match is 12-13 days away. I may improve by then, why won’t I play in that case?” asked Tamim in the footage.
The official purportedly replied that they had engaged in a conversation regarding the possibility of Tamim batting lower in the order if he were to participate in the match against Afghanistan:
“I was happy after a decent outing with the bat. I have batted at a specific position for 17 years.
“I have never batted at three or four: had I done that, I could still have adjusted – but I had no experience.”
Tamim has consistently been the opening batsman in all of his 240 ODI innings.
Across the various formats, spanning 452 international innings, he found himself batting lower in the order only once, which occurred during the Potchefstroom Test match in the 2017/18 season.
This situation arose because he hadn’t been on the field long enough towards the end of South Africa’s innings.
The purported suggestion didn’t sit well with Tamim:
“I lost my calm. I felt that they were deliberately creating obstacles for me.”
“I said, ‘If that is what you want, don’t send me to the World Cup, I don’t to be part of this filth where you would make me endure something new every day.”
“The five-match rumour started out of nowhere, probably to suppress the actual truth.
“If you really want me, then you should make me mentally free and happy because I was coming out of a very bad three to four months.
“Had the same thing been told me in a different way, I might have agreed.
“But to call me up suddenly and asking me to opt-out or bat down the order, well… I am not sure how fair that is.
“Had there been one or two incidents, I could have dismissed them as misunderstandings.
“But if these things happen with the same person seven or eight times across three-four months, I have to consider them intentional. This is what I felt.
“I wish the Bangladesh team all the best, I hope they bring success home. Just a request to everyone: remember me.”
Tamim also asserted that despite being in excellent physical condition, the BCB selection panel chose not to include him.
“I was deliberately excluded from the squad,” he stated.