Players don’t need to be friends to play together: Hathurusingha on Shakib-Tamim rift

Chandika HathurusinghaShamsul Hoque

Bangladesh’s three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against England is set to commence in less than 24 hours. Still, the focus of the country’s cricket fraternity is overwhelmingly on the reported rift between two stalwarts Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan.

Newly reappointed coach of the Tigers Chandika Hathurusingha appeared in front of the press for a scheduled press conference on Tuesday ahead of the England series, where he also had to answer questions on the Shakib-Tamim issue.

BCB president Nazmul Hassan was the first to bring this matter to the fore in a recent interview. After that, ODI captain Tamim didn’t deny the existent of a rift with Shakib but said that his personal equation with him has not affected on-field performances one bit.

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The BCB president then also changed his tune a bit after a meeting with the team on Monday night, telling reporters that he has never seen any division in the team because of the issues between Tamim and Shakib and has only heard of it from other sources.

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On Tuesday, Hathurusingha echoed Tamim in a sense as he feels that the players don’t need to be the pals off the field to perform together for the team inside the field.

Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal
Shamsul Hoque

“First of all, I’m seven days into the job. I’ve been in teams and dressing rooms where everyone doesn’t get along. But still when they step out together, they play for the team. When you play for your national team, that’s what you expect. You don’t need to be the best of friends, or go out on dinners together. As long as it’s not affecting the team, I don’t have any problems. And I don’t see anything at all,” Hathurusingha told the media in Mirpur.

The media frenzy over the Shakib-Tamim issue at a time when all focus should’ve been on the England team could have a detrimental effect on the team.

When asked if this was the right time to bring this conflict to the front, Hathurusingha had a rather dismissive reply, “This is not the ideal time for this discussion. This is not the ideal time for this question as well.”