In the midst of the World Cup 2023 selection controversy, Bangladesh’s captain, Shakib Al Hasan, did not mince words when addressing the senior batsman Tamim Iqbal’s actions, deeming them “childish.” Furthermore, he accused Tamim of prioritizing personal interests over the team’s well-being.
Tamim, who recently returned to international cricket, found himself excluded from Bangladesh’s 15-man World Cup squad due to an ongoing back injury. However, he took to Facebook on September 27 to claim that he was fit for the World Cup but declined the opportunity after a high-ranking Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) official suggested he bat lower in the order.
In an explosive interview with T-Sports, Shakib launched a scathing critique of Tamim’s behaviour. He dismissed Tamim’s complaint about being asked to change his batting position, comparing it to Rohit Sharma, the Indian captain, who had transitioned from batting at No. 7 to becoming an opener.
He said: “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“
“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.”
“A player should bat at any position for the team” – Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib emphasized that a player should be willing to bat in any position for the team’s sake, with the team’s interests taking precedence over personal achievements. Shakib argued that being a true team player meant embracing proposals made for the team’s benefit, rather than focusing solely on individual records, success, fame, and personal recognition.
He made it clear that he did not consult with any player, medical staff, or selector regarding the matter; instead, the decision was made by the BCB. He invoked the example of MS Dhoni, asserting that unfit players, according to Dhoni, were cheating their team and country.
Shakib acknowledged that fitness concerns existed in other teams, such as New Zealand, where captain Kane Williamson was recovering from an ACL injury. However, he stressed that the key difference lay in the lack of transparency surrounding Tamim’s situation. While Williamson’s absence from the first two matches was known, the uncertainty surrounding Tamim’s availability for specific games posed challenges for team selection, making it hard for Shakib to justify his inclusion.
Before the World Cup team selection, there were reports suggesting that Tamim had informed the BCB that he could only participate in five matches during the tournament. Bangladesh’s World Cup 2023 journey begins with a match against Afghanistan on October 7 in Dharamsala.
Shakib Al Hasan criticized Tamim Iqbal for his actions during the World Cup 2023 selection controversy, alleging that Tamim’s behaviour was self-centred and detrimental to the team’s interests. Shakib emphasized the importance of being a team player and expressed frustration over the uncertainty surrounding Tamim’s availability for the tournament.