Tamim Iqbal, the mainstay of Bangladesh's top order for a decade-and-a-half, finds himself absent from the squad unveiled by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for the forthcoming 2023 World Cup.
Minhajul Abedin, the chief selector of the BCB, cited an enduring injury as the primary factor underpinning Tamim's omission.
Prior to Tuesday's squad announcement, a prevailing sentiment within Bangladesh's cricketing circles suggested that Tamim might be excluded from the World Cup, purportedly due to reservations from captain Shakib Al Hasan and head coach Chandika Hathrusingha regarding fielding a 'half-fit' player.
This notion, however, was refuted by Minhajul.
"After the second match of the New Zealand series, Tamim's injury resurfaced, rendering him unable to partake in the third match," Minhajul clarified. "We are disinclined to undertake substantial risks, especially in the context of a big event such as the World Cup."
In a noteworthy turn of events earlier this year during the home series against Afghanistan, Tamim abruptly announced his retirement from international cricket amidst a controversy ignited by his remarks. He had expressed his desire to gauge his fitness in the course of a match within the series.
This comment prompted the BCB president to publicly admonish him through the media. In a swift and unexpected turn, Tamim announced his retirement.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina intervened to facilitate his return.
"I can decline anyone, but not the leader of the country," Tamim asserted when announcing his decision to continue representing Bangladesh. Concurrently, he took a hiatus from cricket for a span of one and a half months.
The southpaw batter was anticipated to stage his comeback during the Asia Cup, but regrettably, it did not come to fruition. His persistent injury compelled him to abstain from the Asia Cup and relinquish his position as the ODI captain of Bangladesh.
Now, he stands excluded from the World Cup.
"The decision to omit Tamim was a tough one," remarked Habibul Bashar, the former Bangladesh captain and a current selection panel member. "There is no question regarding his status as one of our preeminent batters. We aimed to assemble the best-possible team, and a fit Tamim was our aspiration. But, it was his injury that compelled us to make this tough choice."
Tanzid Hasan Tamim, a left-handed opener akin to his senior counterpart, may be poised to step into the elder Tamim's shoes for the World Cup. Minhajul is optimistic about the younger Tamim's readiness to face more formidable challenges.
The Bangladesh team is slated to depart for India on Wednesday. Their World Cup campaign will commence with a match against Afghanistan on October 7 in Dharamshala.
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