Friday, May 24, 2019
Updated: Thursday, September 09, 2010
The more I practice, the better I get: An interview with Tamim Iqbal

Iqbal Eusuf
BanglaCricket and Prabashe Bangladesh's Iqbal Yusuf (L) and Tamim Iqbal (R)

Bangladesh's star batsman Tamim Iqbal is now in Sydney, Australia to see a specialist for a niggling injury to his wrist. During this visit, dedicated BanglaCricket member Iqbal Eusuf, who also happens to be the Chief Editor of the expatriat newspaper "Probashe Bangladesh" managed to have Tamim Iqbal share a few thoughts with him. We are proud to be able to republish the interview on BanglaCricket.

BanglaCricket: How are you feeling?

Tamim Iqbal Fantastic! After getting here I got to meet some of my old school friends that I hadn’t seen for almost 4/5 years. I have been to many countries but I must say that Australia is one of the most beautiful.

BC: You have been nominated for ICC Best Test player of the year. How do you feel about it?

TI: I had mentioned in earlier an interview in Bangladesh that I would like to win an ICC award. This nomination is just the first step towards that goal. The ICC Award considers the period from July to June. But I only got the opportunity to play Tests since January. Essentially, I was nominated on the basis of my performance of the last 6 months only and not the entire year. Whether I win or not, I am really delighted to be nominated. I will try to do much better in the future.

BC: You are considered one of the best opening batsmen in the world right now. Who else, other than yourself, helped you get here?

The more I practice, the better I get ... I still have a long way to go.

TI: There are quite a number of people behind this achievement. First, I have to think of my father. The only reason I am playing in the national team now is because of him. My elder brother too was an inspiration to me. Other than family, I must mention our fielding coach Salauddin bhai. I am very thankful to him and even to this day I practice with him. Jamie Siddons has worked with me a lot. The more I practice, the better I get. I don’t want to stagnate for I still have a long way to go.

BC: At the last world cup we made it to the 2nd round and your aggressive batting helped us beat India. In this world cup, we will be playing in home conditions and fans have very high expectations from you. What are your and the team’s goals for this cup?

TI: Every team has a goal and we too have ours. We have two weak teams in our group and we will be playing in our home conditions. We must be able to make the best of it. We are all hoping to reach, at least, the quarter finals. Do pray for us!

Tamim Iqbal and friends

BC: You have already played some memorable innings. Which one would you rate the best?

TI: My best innings is yet to come. Of the ones I have played, I think my 154 against Zimbabwe is one of the best I have played. I rank this very highly because we were chasing a huge score and I had to take extra risks to maintain the asking rate.

BC: Where do you see Bangladesh in three years in terms of rankings?

TI: Not three exactly, but I believe that in five years Bangladesh will be ranked sixth or seventh. Inshallah.

BC: Shakib (Shakib al Hassan) is playing county cricket at this time. Mash (Mashrafe Murtaza), Ash (Mohammad Ashraful), Raz (Abdur Razzaq) already played for the IPL.  If you could choose between the IPL and county cricket, what would you choose?

TI: Obviously the IPL

BC: Why? Is it the money?

TI: Yeah, money is one reason. The other reason is that all the best cricketers of the world are playing in the IPL at the moment. And I want to play with them. The IPL is a venue where I will be able to learn a lot. But I don’t want to just sit out all the 14 matches and make my money. I really do want to play in the IPL and show my skills.

BC: Before coming to Sydney, you had some issues with the BCB regarding tickets and treatment cost. Has this been resolved?

TI: Actually, it was just a simple misunderstanding. I was making a request according to the current BCB rules, but perhaps the person was not aware of the current rules. That’s why the issue arose. It’s all settled now.

BC: Let’s move on to match fixing or spot fixing. Have you ever been approached?

TI:  [laughs] Let’s leave this out. Actually, if you read CricInfo, you will find out.

BC: Bangladesh has been looking for a long time to find a suitable opening partner for you. Do you think that we have a balanced opening pair now?
TI: I think Imrul (Imrul Kayes) is doing a fantastic job.

BC: Isn’t his strike rate a little bit slow for ODIs?

TI: No, not really. We have a game plan and we all try to follow it. I have the license to play aggressively from the very the first ball most of the time. On the other hand, Imrul is often instructed to hold the other end and stay at the crease foe a long time. And he is upholding his responsibility 100%. Don’t forget that most of the time we struggle to play for the full 50 overs.

BC: What we see these days is that a good start by you or Imrul is squandered and we have lost the next three or four wickets in short order. Why is this happening so frequently?

TI:  Our team is still very young and inexperienced. The more we play the stronger opponents, the faster we will overcome this problem.

Get my name up there
The staff of Probashe Bangladesh and Tamim Iqbal

BC: Our bowling has become a concern for the last few months. What do you think about it?

TI: Well, our pace bowling has always been a concern. Even just a few years ago, we were wondering when we would get a pacer who can bowl at 140kmh. Now we have two guys (Rubel Hossain and Shafiul Islam) both of whom can bowl at 140. But then, they are very young and inexperienced. We have to give them time.

When I played my first match against India, I was apprehensive about facing a 140kmh plus ball. Will I be able to see it? Now? I am not afraid of any bowler in the world. This has come from my international match experiences. So, give these guys some time and they will be assets for Bangladesh cricket.

BC: After your retirement, how you want fans to remember you?
TI: First, as a good and kind human being. Then, I want people to remember me by saying “Tamim Iqbal Khan was a very good cricketer”.

BC: You have lots of fans in Australia and in Bangladesh. They love Bangladesh cricket and they love you. They pray for you from the depths of their heart. They want to see more wins. Do you want to say anything to them via our newspaper?

TI: I would say compared to others we Bangladeshis are quite impatient. All the other Test teams are very experienced. They have been playing for more than 30/40 years. It took India more than 20 years to win their first Test. We have been in competitive cricket for only the last 10 years. I had said in an interview in London that if you open a chocolate factory today, you won’t be ready to compete with say Cadburys in just five years. Cadburys has been in the market for a long time and you’ll need more time to be able to compete. We need more time too. Just six or seven years ago, we were not playing for wins. Now, it doesn’t matter who the opposition is. We play to win. I will plead with the fans to not be impatient and to stay with us. Give us another four or five years, and we will win consistently. Inshallah.

BC: Thank you very much for spending your valuable time with us. We wish your quick recovery and a Happy Eid in Australia
TI: Thank You.


Get my name up there
Get my name on there

After the formal interview ended, we were chatting and I happened to ask Tamim about his now famous gesture at Lords after securing his first century at Lords. He sprinted towards the pavilion, banged his team badge on his chest, and outlined a rectangle with his hands, before gesticulating (soccer style) to something on his back. 

Tamim Iqbal: [Laughs] You know at Lords, if you make a century or take five wickets, your name is enshrined forever on the Lords Honour Board. I was desperate to get my name on there. There was this guy who was has been writing the names on this board for the last 18 years. So during a break (when I had crossed 50 runs) I jokingly asked him to make a half-sized board for me as I had just made a 50. The guy laughed and said, you make a century and I will put your name on it immediately. I told him don't worry get ready to write. So after my century, I was telling him that I hgot my century so you better keep your promise and write my name immediately.


In another conversation I had told him that he seems to be very bold and positive compared to some of other players. He laughed and replied, "It all depends on form. When you are in form, you feel confident all the time".