Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal extends T20I break


File photo of Tamim Iqbal.© AFP

Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal said on Thursday that he will extend his break from Twenty20 Internationals by at least six months, fueling speculation about his future in the short format. Tamim is one of Bangladesh’s biggest batting assets and has captained the One Day International team for the past two years. But he hasn’t played a 20-over international since March 2020 and withdrew from last year’s World Cup to give a chance to the young players.

Bangladesh failed to win the tournament and suffered a clean-sweep series defeat against Pakistan at home in November.

The team’s top-order struggles intensified calls for Tamim to return, but he made it clear on Thursday that his priorities lay elsewhere.

“There has been some discussion about my T20 career in the last few days,” 32-year-old Tamim told reporters in Chittagong.

“They want me to continue T20 cricket till the World Cup (starting in October), but I said I will not think about T20 cricket in the next few months,” he said.

“Hopefully the young players will play well enough in the next six months that I will not be needed.”

Tamim is playing in the domestic Bangladesh Premier League competition, where he has shown glimpses of his past T20 form, scoring two fifties in the first four matches for Dhaka.

Tamim said he needed to be selective with international engagements to allow himself to expand his ODI and Test careers.

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“I still have four to five years left,” he said. “If I can stay fit, I want to play another four or five years.”

Bangladesh are scheduled to play two T20Is against Afghanistan next month and three T20Is against West Indies in June.

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