Not ready yet to play second Zimbabwe Test: Tamim

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Sports desk: Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal is eyeing a return in the upcoming series against Windies. Tamim, who was ruled out of the Asia Cup after injuring his wrist in the opening game against Sri Lanka, returned to batting, facing up against tennis balls three days ago. But for the first time on Thursday (November 8), he had a session with cricket balls at the academy. His net session, however, grabbed all the attention as many liked to believe that he could be included in the Test squad for the series-deciding second game against Zimbabwe considering the batting debacle of the hosts in both innings that forced them to an embarrassing 151-run defeat in Sylhet.

The arrival of physio Chandramohan during his batting session in the afternoon only added fuel to the speculation as selectors were having an emergency meeting with head coach Steve Rhodes close by. Inside the BCB premises, the physio was also called at one stage to report Tamim’s condition after observing his development closely.
However, Tamim cleared the air after the individual practice session.

“I have started batting against spin and the dog-stick. I haven’t faced any major pain, but since there’s a bit of weakness in my hand, particular shots give me a bit of pain. Once we do some strength work, the weakness will go away,” Tamim said. “Today is probably the third day that I am batting. I haven’t had a full net session. There’s a lot of difference between playing 130-140 kph and playing against spin and the dog-stick. As of now, things are looking very positive. In the next three days, there’s going to be a full net session after which I can tell where I am at,” he said.

“Very less chance to play the second Test because I don’t think I can. I am not ready. I don’t think the physio will even permit me. It has just been three days of semi-batting, what I am doing right now. Unless I start full-fledged nets, it won’t be fair for the team from my part to declare myself fit. I think I will be fit for the first Test [against West Indies] and it won’t be fair to rule me out now because I will play the two-day game if I feel that it is necessary. It depends where I am on the 16th or 17th November.”

Tamim further added that he is confident that Bangladesh will make a comeback in the two-match Test series as he believes the Tigers have the ability to bounce back.

“100 per cent they will bounce back. The team and I know that we didn’t play our best cricket. We are a much better team than this. It is a fact that we haven’t performed in Tests like we have done in ODIs. I don’t think any of our team members we have become a very strong Test team. But it is also true that we have started to play better Test cricket than five years ago. We have defeated two of the best sides in the world. Our West Indies Test series wasn’t good at all. Our graph in Test cricket hasn’t gone as high as we’d liked,” said Tamim.

“I felt we should have batted better in the first innings but I don’t think it is fair to the team to comment on the performance from outside. I did see things that we could have done differently. Shakib and I have faced worse situations when we are in the team. Still we are part of the team,” he said.

“I have spoken to few of the players. Some also called me. It is a very personal thing. I have helped from my part, delivered the message. If they are losing, it is also coming to me. I am part of that team. We didn’t play good cricket, which is why we have reached this situation.”

Tamim, however, disagreed with skipper Mahmudullah’s statement after the opening Test wherein he said that there is no point in Bangladesh playing Test cricket if they continue to play in this manner. Bangladesh have not won a game in their last 8 Tests, of which, 4 have been played at home and largely due to their batsmen’s failures, who did not cross the 200-run mark in the eighth successive innings.

“I don’t agree with him [Mahmudullah] but it is also true that we never expected to be beaten by Zimbabwe. People get shocked in these situations. They get disappointed and start to blame each other. Riyad bhai making that comment is probably one of those things. It probably came from frustration. He wanted things to be different as a captain. We all know how much the players are working to get better in Tests. But when we don’t get results, it is sometimes quite frustrating. We will play better and bounce back against this and other opponents. I believe we are strong enough to take it positively and look forward,” Tamim concluded.

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