Off The Field

‘Look at Rohit Sharma’: Shakib lashes out at Tamim Iqbal for emotional outburst, calls him ‘childish, not a team man’

Written by Shreyas Vyas

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan has launched a scathing attack on fellow cricketer Tamim Iqbal, accusing him of being “childish” and prioritizing personal interests over the team’s needs at the ODI World Cup 2023. The verbal altercation comes just days before the highly-anticipated tournament in India.

Tamim Iqbal, who has been struggling with a persistent back injury, was left out of Bangladesh’s World Cup squad due to his ongoing health concerns. However, in a surprising twist, Tamim took to social media to express his discontent, claiming that he was fit to participate and blaming the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for obstructing his inclusion. He specifically cited an incident where a top board official suggested he should bat lower in the order.

In response, Shakib Al Hasan did not mince his words during an interview with T-Sports, criticizing Tamim’s approach and emphasizing the importance of prioritizing the team’s interests over individual ambitions.

“I am sure someone who is authorized had said this (to Tamim),” Shakib told T-Sports. “I am sure whoever has said it, he thought of the team. A lot of things go into building a combination for a match. So if someone has said this to him, was it wrong? Or we can’t make such a proposal? I am just going to tell someone that you can do whatever you want. Is the team first or the individual?”

Shakib questioned Tamim’s reluctance to adapt to different batting positions, highlighting the example of Rohit Sharma, who has successfully transitioned from a lower-order batter to an opener for India. Shakib stressed that playing for the team’s success should always take precedence over personal records and fame.

Regarding Tamim’s fitness, Shakib defended the board’s decision not to include a player with an injury concern, echoing the sentiments of former Indian captain MS Dhoni, who once stated that an unfit player cheats both the team and the country.

“Someone like Rohit Sharma built his career from No. 7 to opener, scored 10,000-plus runs. If he sometimes bats at No 3 or 4, would it be a big problem? It is totally childish. It is my bat, I will play. No one else can play. A player should bat at any position for the team. Team first. It doesn’t make any difference if you have made 100 or 200, and the team loses. What can you do with personal achievement? You want to make a name for yourself?” Shakib said.

“You are not thinking about the team at all. People don’t understand these things. Why was the proposal given to him? It was for the team. What is wrong in that? You are a team man when you agree to such a proposal. Unless you are thinking along those lines, you are not a team man. You are playing for individual records, success, fame, and name. Not for the team.”

While other teams, like New Zealand with Kane Williamson, have dealt with similar situations, the uncertainty surrounding Tamim’s participation in the World Cup has caused frustration within the Bangladesh camp.

Shakib expressed his reservations about selecting a player whose availability remains uncertain until the last minute, as it hampers the team’s preparations and planning. He also addressed Tamim’s abrupt resignation as ODI captain, suggesting that it could have been handled differently to provide a smoother transition for the team.

The feud between Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal has taken center stage in the lead-up to the World Cup, casting a shadow over Bangladesh’s preparations for the tournament. As cricket fans eagerly await the tournament’s kickoff, all eyes will be on how this rift affects team dynamics and performance on the global stage.

“I didn’t discuss the subject with the particular player, medical team or selector. It is definitely the board’s decision. People might doubt my capability or capacity but someone like MS Dhoni, who has won everything and has the knowledge and sense, once said that the unfit player who is playing is cheating his team and country. I think we should accept it, and not just Tamim but every player (that you have to be fully fit when playing for the team or country),” Shakib said. 

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Shreyas Vyas