Tamim Iqbal's abrupt departure from international cricket has been reversed as quickly as it happened, as the batsman has decided to change his decision of retiring from international cricket after a meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
At a sad news conference in Dhaka on Thursday, Tamim Iqbal, the only batter from Bangladesh to score hundreds in all three versions of the game, announced his immediate retirement. He claimed that he had been considering quitting for a while and thought that the time was now.
However, on Friday, Iqbal decided to return to international cricket after Bangladesh's PM looked into the matter herself. T he 34-year-old met the prime minister at her house itself, where the President of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, Nazmul Hasan, and ex-captain Mashrafe Mortaza were also present. It is not known exactly what was discussed in the sudden meeting, but it was enough to convince Tamim Iqbal to reverse his retirement and get back to playing for Bangladesh.
Tamim took to his Instagram handle to post a picture with Bangladesh PM Sheikh and wrote, "Can't say no to the Honourable Prime Minister."
Nazmul Hassan, the BCB President had earlier said that he was not aware of Tamim's plans and that he was not consulted before the announcement. He said that he was surprised and saddened by Tamim's decision, especially as it came just three months before the ODI World Cup in India.
“I think it is not a wise decision. He is still one of our best batters and he has a lot to offer to Bangladesh cricket," Hassan stated recently. "He is also our ODI captain and we have a big tournament coming up. I hope he will change his mind and play for Bangladesh again”, he added further.
Hassan also hinted that Tamim's retirement might have been influenced by his recent criticism from the BCB president himself. Hassan had questioned Tamim's professionalism and fitness in a newspaper interview, a day before Tamim played in the first ODI against Afghanistan on Wednesday.
"I don't know if my comments hurt him or not, but I was only trying to motivate him to do better," Hassan clarified after Iqbal’s retirement. "I have always supported him and appreciated his contributions to Bangladesh cricket. He is one of our greatest batters ever," added the BCB President further.
Tamim had admitted that he was not fully fit and had scored only 13 runs in Bangladesh's 17-run defeat against Asian rivals Afghanistan. He had also faced backlash from fans and media for his poor form and leadership in recent times.
It is not known whether the 34-year-old will be returning to the ongoing ODI series against Afghanistan. Bangladesh lost the first ODI by 17 runs (DLS method) which was a rain-curtailed affair. The second ODI will be played on Saturday, July 8 at Chattogram.