Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal has ruled himself out of contention for the T20 World Cup later this year by withdrawing from T20Is for the next six months. However, he has said that he would be playing domestic cricket during the said duration.
Tamim’s declaration comes after recent conversations with top BCB officials, including president Nazmul Hassan, who attempted to persuade him not to make the choice. Tamim had spent the previous 12 months away from Bangladesh’s T20I team.
The board requested that he not take a vacation until the next 50-over World Cup in 2023, but instead take a six-month sabbatical, giving them the option of having him for the forthcoming T20 World Cup in Australia in October.
Tamim emphasised that it was a cricketing choice during a news conference in Chattogram on Thursday, saying that his priority this year is on Tests and ODIs and that he will only consider T20Is if the team’s situation becomes challenging.
“There have been discussions about my T20I future,” Tamim said. “In the last few days, I have been doing meetings with the BCB president (Nazmul Hassan) and Jalal (Yunus) bhai and Kazi Inam (Ahmed). They wanted me to continue T20Is till the World Cup (this year). I had a different sort of thinking. I will not be considering T20Is for the next six months. My full focus will be on Tests and ODIs. We are preparing for the World Test Championship and qualification for the 2023 World Cup. I will not be thinking about T20Is in the next six months. I hope that those playing will do so well, that the team won’t need me in T20Is. But if God forbid the team or cricket board needs me, and I am ready, I will possibly think about it.”
Earlier, Tamim Iqbal, who last played a T20I game in 2020 against Zimbabwe, voluntarily pulled out of last year’s T20 World Cup tournament in order to give opportunities to other younger players.
Tamim insisted on a long rope for the incoming players who would be tested in his place. To compare the circumstances for Naim, Sarkar, and Saif Hassan, he used an example from his and other top Bangladesh cricketers’ early days.
“We handed chances to a number of youngsters in the last (T20I) series. We cannot lose hope in them quickly. We have to give them time. I think six months is a good enough time. I am pretty confident that I won’t be needed in T20Is. Even then, if the team management or cricket board feels otherwise, I will be open to discussion.
“The team has to go forward. You know my stand ahead of the last T20 World Cup (of giving the young openers more opportunities), so it won’t be wise to judge anyone after one or two series. Many of us seniors went through three or four bad series and then bounced back with maybe three good series on the trot. Considering those who will play in my place, I am sure they will find their feet and do well,” he said.