Tamim opens up on rift with Shakib

Tamim Iqbal speaks at a press conference at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on 26 February 2023Prothom Alo

The personal rift between Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal is right now the talk of the town. The two veteran cricketers are not on speaking terms and their differences are apparently creating divisions inside the Bangladesh team.

As expected, the matter was brought multiple times during Tamim’s scheduled press conference ahead of the One-Day International series against England.

In his replies, Tamim didn’t deny the rift, didn’t say that the reports claiming he and Shakib don’t talk outside of the field are false. But he claimed that these issues have never factored into the field.

Bangladesh ODI captain Tami Iqbal
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“What’s the important thing? When Shakib and I step on the field wearing the Bangladesh jersey, both of us give it our all. Nothing else matters here,” Tamim said.

“To me, the team environment has always seemed great. Not just right now, it has been like that for a long time. You can also see the results of that. We always play well in ODIs. We have done well in the last 5-6 series. If the dressing room environment hadn't been healthy, it wouldn’t have happened.”

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Tamim, who is the captain of the ODI team, also said that his poor relation with Shakib, the Test and T20 captain, doesn’t affect the team in any way.

When asked if they can resolve their problems, Tamim seemed positive about it, “Everything is possible.”

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) had tried many times to resolve the issue. Reportedly, Tamim had responded positively to those attempts but Shakib didn’t.

When asked about it, Tamim avoided the question, “He (Shakib) is an important member of the team. Whatever we spoke about, should’ve stayed inside that room.”

On Saturday, an interview of BCB president Nazmul Hassan was published where he claimed that the biggest issue in the national team is ‘grouping’.

BCB president Nazmul Hassan
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But Tamim said he has never seen any sort of grouping in all his years in the national team.

“Earlier, whenever the team would play poorly, these things used to be said. I haven’t seen any grouping in my 16 years with the national team. I didn’t see it 10 years ago either. I wasn’t with the national team in the last six months. But I saw everyone in the team is united. I didn’t see any grouping in the team.”

Tamim also said that he had anticipated the flurry of questions over the Shakib issue and was ready to answer them.

“I was ready from yesterday (Saturday). It would’ve been easy for me to just say ‘no comment’. But I wanted to send a message for myself, for Shakib and for the fans of the team.”