Tamim Iqbal and the Hopes Of Bangladeshi Cricket

Dann KhanAnalyst ISeptember 30, 2009

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 02:  Tamim Iqbal of Bangladesh hits out during the Twenty20 Warm Up Match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge on June 2, 2009 in Nottingham, England.  (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

I know that the Champions Trophy is going on right now and, therefore, this article might seem a bit irrelevant given that it is about a player from a team that did not even play in the tournament.

But still, I think he has to be mentioned here. I think this is the time to discuss him, too, basically because no one else has mentioned him so far and when I saw highlights of a match in which he was playing, I felt it was not fair to him.

Tamim Iqbal, the young opening batsman from Bangladesh is so un-Bangladeshi and yet so Bangladeshi.

I know I am starting with this contradiction. But this is the truth.

Iqbal, like many of the other players from Bangladesh, is talented.

But unlike the others, he is a lot more consistent. Unlike the others, he exhibits a lot more patience when he bats. And unlike the others he does not get too overwhelmed by the situation and lose his head.

His figures, though fast catching up to the way he is playing currently, are not something you want to go by right now. You just have to see him to feel the greatness inside him.

Some time back, we saw his brilliance against Zimbabwe in the bilateral series between the two teams. The most memorable knock was that match winning 154, through which he showed us that he is an accumulator as well as a big hitter.

On the other hand, these are the same things that have been said about most of young and talented cricketers from Bangladesh in the past. Be it Mohammad Ashraful or Habibul Bashar or Aftab Ahmad. So we are yet to know fully whether the trend will continue or a new era will begin.

But still, when I look at the Bangla team today, I find it incomplete without the 20-year-old Tamim. I have seen him grow into a proper batsman over the last two years. He is no longer the overly flashy 18-year-old boy who just wanted to smash the ball.

He has fast realized that he has to learn how to build innings and look to stay at the crease for a long time. He has understood that if he manages to do this, the runs will come.

Still, he hasn't learned the art perfectly yet. He often throws away his innings after getting a good 30, 40, or a 50. And that is one of the reasons why I call him so Bangladeshi.

The Batsman has also yet to establish himself into the test arena—so that is one area he has to work on. But once he manages this bit, Iqbal will be well on his way to becoming a world beater.

Iqbal is also someone who is not scared of any opposition. This is a fact that can be verified by looking at the fifties he has got against the top test playing nations. Be it India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, or Pakistan.

Many years ago, a man called Sunil Gavaskar had come to the Indian team. He was one man who did not care who the bowler was—if the ball was there to be hit, he hit it.

Today, a lot of what the Indian cricket team has become is because of him.

Now, why do I talk about the hopes of Bangladesh here?

Of course, because he is capable pulling them out of their current state in the world of cricket. But also because his countrymen finally may find their Sachin (Tendulkar). The man who can produce the goods again and again. The man who can be imitated by the children playing on the streets.

And let me tell you, if you are able to find an idol for yourself, life becomes a lot easier to live. The person becomes your Sports God.

God might exist or might not exist, but the idea of him being there to look after us is what matters. All the mythological stories about gods and goddesses only serve the purpose of a lesson. The lesson is to have a never-say-die attitude.   

So if Tamim Iqbal does not end up like many of the previous Bangla talents, then there is great news for the world and this tiny country called Bangladesh. 

There is only one thing I fear now—the Andy Flower phenomenon, which is the phenomenon of a great player getting stuck on a team that cannot match his skill.

And with the team that Bangladesh is, that is very likely.