Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal announces shock retirement from cricket

Captain quits three months before World Cup, ending stellar 16-year career.

Bangladesh's captain Tamim Iqbal plays a shot during the second one day international cricket match between Bangladesh and England in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, March 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal plays a shot during a cricket match between Bangladesh and England in Dhaka [File: Aijaz Rahi/AP Photo]

Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal has announced his immediate retirement from all forms of international cricket, a surprise move coming just three months before the World Cup in India

The announcement on Thursday came a day after Bangladesh’s loss in the first One Day International (ODI) against Afghanistan, in which Tamim, who by his own admission was not 100 percent fit, scored just 13 runs.

“Yesterday against Afghanistan was my last international game. I am retiring from international cricket effective right now,” Tamim told reporters.

He broke into tears as he made the announcement during a news conference that was broadcast live on national television.

“There was no sudden reason behind this. I was thinking about it for quite some time,” said Tamim, who has been struggling with a back issue. “I was talking about it with my family members for a few days. I thought this was [the] right time for me to decide.”

The 34-year-old batsman scored 8,313 runs in the 241 ODIs he played for Bangladesh during a 16-year career, hitting 14 centuries – both run-scoring statistics being the highest by any Bangladeshi batsman.

The veteran left-hander scored 5,134 runs from the 134 innings he played in 70 Tests, scoring 10 hundreds. He retired from Twenty20 internationals in 2022.

Bangladesh batsman Tamim Iqbal makes a quick run on the final day of the One-Day International cricket match between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh at Harare Sports Club in Harare, Zimbabwe, Wednesday, Aug, 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
‘This is the end for me. I have always tried to give my best. I am retiring from international cricket from this moment,’ Tamim said on July 6, 2023 [File: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP Photo]

‘Fearless batting’

Former Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar led tributes to Tamim.

“One of the greatest batsman Bangladesh ever produced,” he said.

Ashfaque Nipun, one of Bangladesh’s top filmmakers, said: “You will always be remembered for your fearless batting days, Tamim Iqbal.”

Tamim is the only Bangladeshi to have scored centuries in all three formats of the game.

The batsman is from a cricketing family in Chittagong – his uncle Akram Khan and elder brother Nafees Iqbal also represented Bangladesh – and established himself as one of the country’s most dependable players.

He burst into international cricket with a powerful six off a stunned Zaheer Khan against India in the 2007 ODI World Cup in the West Indies.

It was only Tamim’s fifth ODI but the first against any serious opposition, and his 51 against India helped Bangladesh take a five-wicket win.

In 2010, he became the first Bangladeshi to score a century at Lord’s before his four consecutive 50s played a big part in the country’s journey towards their first Asia Cup final in 2012.

Source: News Agencies