In a surprising turn of events, Bangladeshi cricketer Tamim Iqbal has reversed his decision to retire from international cricket just a day after announcing his sudden resignation. The 34-year-old veteran opener revealed that his change of heart came about following a discussion with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who instructed him to reconsider his retirement.
Outside Hasina’s official residence in Dhaka, Tamim expressed, “I can say no to everyone except the most important person in the country. We had a long discussion, and she has instructed me to return to cricket. I am withdrawing my retirement.” This unexpected twist comes after Tamim emotionally announced the immediate end to his international career, with tears streaming down his face, following his team’s loss to Afghanistan in the first match of a three-match one-day series.
Accompanying Tamim Iqbal to the meeting with Prime Minister Hasina was Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan. Hassan, who had earlier questioned Tamim’s professionalism for playing the match despite not being fully fit, stated, “Having seen his press conference, I knew that he was being emotional about his decision. I knew that if we could sit face-to-face, I could find a solution.”
The BCB president further revealed that Tamim Iqbal would take a six-week break to focus on injury rehabilitation and prepare himself physically and mentally for his return, targeting the Asia Cup in September. The announcement of Tamim’s decision led to impromptu celebrations by fans in his hometown of Chittagong, as local broadcasters aired the news live.
Meanwhile, wicket-keeper/batter Liton Das have been named captain for the remaining matches against Afghanistan. Liton expressed the team’s surprise at Tamim’s resignation, stating, “None of us could realize this decision was coming. He gave the Bangladesh team a lot for so many years.” Tamim, who holds the record as the only Bangladeshi to score centuries in all three formats of the game, has been a pillar of consistency for the team, amassing 8,313 runs in 241 ODIs, including 14 centuries.
With Tamim’s absence, Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi sees an opportunity for his side to secure the series. He commented, “I don’t know what happened with them because I focus on us. It’s surprising for everyone that he left in the middle of the series. Tomorrow is a big chance for us to take the series 2-0… I know they will come hard at us, but we are ready.”
The second match of the series will be closely watched as Afghanistan aims to capitalize on Tamim’s departure. Left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi, who experienced cramps during the opening match, is fit again, providing an additional boost to the Afghan team. The series will conclude with a final match in Chittagong on July 11, followed by two T20 matches in Sylhet on July 14 and 16.
As cricket fans absorb the unexpected reversal of Tamim’s retirement, the sport’s unpredictability once again takes center stage, underscoring the emotional rollercoaster that accompanies the game.