When he bashed India in the 2007 World Cup, commentators were all over the shop with his daredevil shot-making and the phrase 'dancing down the track' was synonymous with Tamim Iqbal's batting. But these days, while the bravado has stayed, the left-hander has added the full arc of shots to his game.
As he prepares with the Tigers for his second World Cup, Tamim has graduated into the vice-captain's role and would be one of two big names that will make the opposition sweat.
The younger brother of Nafees Iqbal and nephew of former national captain Akram Khan, Tamim made his debut just before the World Cup held in West Indies. Despite playing only four one-dayers, Tamim was picked in the squad. Habibul Bashar, the captain then, knew little of the tyro.
"I didn't play against or with him before the World Cup, neither had I even watched him play. It was in the practise matches when I first witnessed him," said the former national captain.
Tamim announced his arrival scoring a quickfire 51 in that innings at the Queen's Park Oval, hitting Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel out of the ground. That innings of his would probably be remembered by many for his aggressive batting, more than the Tigers' surprise win.
Tamim was always an aggressive batsman but there were not too many shots in his artillery. "He was an attacking player at that time and his best shot was going down the wicket. A fearless player I would say," said Bashar. He worked hard, spent hours in the nets to improve his batting and he practiced shots which he usually was weak in, especially on the leg-side. In the space of three years, Tamim has stood out as the most improved batsman among the Tigers' rank.
"Since the 2007 World Cup, Tamim made huge improvements, be it his attitude, workload or his batting sense. He is a totally balanced cricketer now," opined Bashar.
Sometimes it is felt that he is rushing too much, which has cost him dearly but that is how he bats. He takes down his opponents right from the word go.
In a match where Bangladesh had to chase 312 runs to win, Tamim scored a tantalising 154, winning the Tigers a near-impossible game quite easily. Last year, he missed the New Zealand whitewash due to a wrist injury but he came back strongly against Zimbabwe in December, slamming 95 in the last game, throwing away a potential chance to reach three figures.
By the time of his 21st birthday, he was undoubtedly the hardest hitter in the country and a proven batsman which was always missing from the Tigers top-order. Though the Chittagonian was named Wisden's Test Player of the Year award for 2010, he is yet to win anything for his exploits in the 50-over format.
His ODI average is just below the 30-mark but the start which he gives to the team is very important. Whoever the opponent is, Tamim hardly backs down but has struggled to convert those starts (he has four centuries and 15 half-centuries).
After a fruitful 2010 where he made hundreds against England and India, all eyes will be on Tamim. With the World Cup matches being played at home and the India game being once again the first one, Tamim too must be eyeing a big one.