Tamim hits out at BCB; claims he would have been fit in time for World Cup

Tamim Iqbal walks onto the field Getty Images

Tamim Iqbal has hit out at the BCB a day after he was dropped from Bangladesh's World Cup squad, saying he would have been fit in time for the tournament and that the board had "intentionally" created a tough environment for him in the days leading up to the squad announcement.

In a video posted on his Facebook account, Tamim, 34, said he had told a senior BCB official that he did not want to be in the World Cup side when the board was "creating one barrier after another".

Bangladesh's chief selector Minhajul Abedin had said Tamim's persistent back injury was the reason he was left out, and that he and his colleagues had made the decision after medical staff suggested it would be best if Tamim was given a rest following the second ODI against New Zealand last week.

Some of Tamim's disappointment dates back to when the BCB president Nazmul Hassan chastised him for telling the press he was playing while not 100% fit. Bangladesh were in the middle of an ODI series against Afghanistan and Hassan said they wouldn't risk a player if he wasn't physically ready and that if Tamim was on the team sheet that meant he was ready.

In his video, Tamim opened up about that incident - which led to him retiring for a brief while - and said it was part of the reason he felt he needed to tell the selectors about his condition.

"I told the selectors (after the second ODI against New Zealand) that this is what my body is going to be. I will have a bit of pain. So when you select the team, keep this in mind," he said. "There's a reason for that too. If you remember that match after which I retired, there was a concern about my injury. When I spoke to the physio and coach, they agreed that I should play the first game (against Afghanistan on July 5). I am sure you know what was said in the media at the time: if he is not fit, he shouldn't play. I found it surprising because we had all agreed (that I was going to play).

"(This time) I didn't want to create another controversy, which is why from my side, with full honesty, I told the selectors that keep my injury in mind when selecting me. The reason was I could play all nine matches in the World Cup without a problem. The World Cup fixtures have gaps of at least three or four days apart from the first two games. Any healthy person could get injured after two matches. He is sent home. A replacement is sent in his place. You can always take a replacement when someone is injured. I told (the selectors) clearly."

After missing most of that home series against Afghanistan and the Asia Cup that followed, Tamim made a comeback for the ODI series against New Zealand. He played the first two matches but missed the third game, at the end of which Bangladesh's World Cup squad was announced without him in it.

Tamim said he had been cleared to play the third ODI and the only reason he needed to rest was to be in better shape for the warm-up matches ahead of the World Cup.

"The physio report said that I had pain after the first and second match: 'On the basis of today's assessment, he is available for the match on September 26.' But the medical department felt that if I rest on September 26, since we are traveling on the next day, we have a practice game on September 28 [29], and then another practice game on October 1 or 2'.

"They said if I rest for the September 26th ODI and play the second practice match before the first (World Cup) game, I will have enough time. By this time I will have two weeks of rehab. Overall, I will complete ten weeks of rehab. So I will be in a much better position to play the first game (of the World Cup). This was exactly on the report."

Tamim dismissed rumours that claimed he wanted to play only five matches in the World Cup. "Nowhere was there a mention for five matches, two matches, injury, I won't be able to play. I am not denying I had pain, which I mentioned in the press conference (after the second ODI against New Zealand)." Abedin corroborated this during his own press conference on Tuesday.

Tamim also revealed details of a phone conversation he had with a top board official soon after playing his first ODI innings in over two months. He made 44 off 58 balls with seven boundaries from his customary position at the top of the order.

"He said you are going to the World Cup where you have to manage. 'Do one thing, don't play the first game against Afghanistan.' I said bhai, you are talking about something that's going to happen after 12 or 13 days. I will be in good condition by then. Why won't I be playing?

"He said that if you play, we are planning that you will bat down the order. You have to consider my mindset at that moment. I had just played a good innings. I was happy. Suddenly, now all this talk. It was hard for me to take.

"I have been playing for 17 years in the same position. I have never batted at No. 3 or 4. I have no experience of batting in the middle order. So naturally I didn't take this conversation well.

"I didn't like what he (the official) said. I felt that I was being forcibly stopped. So he has crossed one barrier (fitness), let's create another for him. This is what I felt.

"So I said if you have this mindset, then don't send me to the World Cup. I don't want to be in this nastiness. Every day you will make me face something like this. I don't want to be in this."

Tamim ended the 12-minute video saying it was an "intentional" attempt from the BCB to remove him from the Bangladesh team. "There can be the odd incident. The next incident can be a misunderstanding. But if there are seven or eight such incidents, then it is intentional."