It was a magnificent campaign for Bangladesh opening batsman Tamim Iqbal in the 2017 Champions Trophy as the dashing left-hander finished as the third highest run-getter before the grand finale.
The cricketer from Chittagong scored 293 runs, including a magnificent hundred against host England in the tournament opener. He followed it up with a fine 95 against Australia in the group stage and a solid 70 against India in the second semi-final.
Before Bangladesh left their team hotel in Birmingham, Dhaka Tribune
caught up with the in-form Tigers batsman for an exclusive interview where he talked about his batting and future plans. Here are the excerpts:
How do you assess the tournament?
We reached the semi-finals. It's quite nice. When we started the tournament, this was our target. With that said, we could have played better cricket. Even in the group stage, apart from one game, I think we could have played better cricket.
I think overall it's a nice experience. And I am saying experience because we know what to work on as we will be playing the 2019 World Cup here. We now know what are the areas we need to work on or what type of target we need to set or what sort of target we can defend. So overall, I think it was a great experience for our team. May be we could have played better against India as we were in a position where we could have scored 300-320. Then it could have been a different ball game you know. Although that didn’t happen, I am sure everyone has learned something from here. And as a team, I am very proud to play the semi-final. But that's not our ultimate goal. We want to do better in future and go one step forward as well. So we know if we have to go one step ahead, we have to work really hard. And then when we come here in 2019, I am sure we will be much more prepared.
You finished as the third highest run-getter before the final. How do you rate your individual performance?
If I think personally, it's nice that I have contributed. But I would have been more happy if my runs had come in a winning cause. Yes, the way I batted, I am very proud of myself because even when we played in Ireland, I have scored runs heavily. The best thing is that I was very disciplined. One thing I have told you before is that as a team and as an individual, I still know there is room for improvement. I am sure when I go back home we will have a good rest. And when we return to the field, I will try to make sure to improve the small things. I will work on that. And whenever I play the next series for Bangladesh, I will make sure that I perform better.
Were you thinking of back-to-back hundreds when you were batting in the 90s against Australia?
Obviously, it was a very special innings for me against such a bowling attack. It was very good but about that dismissal, honestly, it was not in my control. I was playing that shot quite well throughout the innings but in that particular ball I thought I was a bit unlucky. I get disappointed when I get out like I did against India as everything was set for me to get a big one. My intentions were right but my execution was wrong. My intention was right to take on the part-time bowlers. They had the plan to go through four-five overs by a part-timer. And if I was able to attack the part-timer successfully, they would have forced their main bowler to return to the attack. But the innings against India could have been much bigger and special. But yes, it didn’t happen and I am disappointed.
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Tamim had a stellar Champions Trophy campaign, scoring 293 runs at an average of 73.25 DHAKA TRIBUNE
You have developed your technique significantly against fast bowling in the last couple of years. Did you work on it specifically before coming to England?
Obviously when you are playing at the international level, you have to get better everyday because the other teams are marking you and planning against you. So if you remain in the same level, it becomes really difficult. So I try to work on my batting and weaknesses. And whenever I go out for training, I practise with a purpose. It's not like you have to bat for two-three hours. Even if you bat for 15-20 minutes with a purpose, it's far more important than batting for three-four hours. This has been working for me. When I return home, I will have some time off. Then, I will try to bat long and identify the mistakes I have been doing and try to make those weaknesses my strong points.
Is Tamim Iqbal more matured these days?
Obviously I have almost played 160-170 games so I think there should be maturity. And I think we, the four-five seniors in the team, have more responsibility. But we still do mistakes as at the end of the day, we are all humans. I think the less mistakes we do in such situations, like against India, the team will benefit more. As I told you, everyone won’t play well in every game or tournament. But whoever plays well, it's his responsibility to make it big.
You have been scoring runs for quite a while now. Is this the best phase of your career?
I don't know but I have been batting well for the last two and a half years. I've been scoring quite heavily. But I personally think there is still a lot more I can offer to the team. I think if I can get better in all three departments - batting, fitness and fielding - I have a lot to offer yet.
Have you started counting your centuries? Like, with the passage of time, I have to score this many hundreds...
I want to get those hundreds, although, I haven't set any target of scoring centuries. But I make sure that when I am batting on 70s and 80s, I have to convert into a hundred. That will be special. At the end of the day 70s, 80s even 90s doesn’t count. Only hundreds count.