Statistically the most decorated batsman in Bangladesh cricket history, the left-handed batsman’s cautious approach to the game had come under scrutiny over the last year.
Tamim Iqbal has, in recent times, become one of the most talked about and trolled cricketers in social media and much of it had been due to his lean patch with the bat.
Statistically the most decorated batsman in Bangladesh cricket history, the left-handed batsman's cautious approach to the game had come under scrutiny over the last year.
The amount of dot balls he played and not being able to convert his starts into something big had become a big worry for the Bangladesh batting.
However, that lean patch came to a screeching halt as Tamim scored a 158 against Zimbabwe in the second one-day international (ODI) at Sylhet on Tuesday and the opener explained that he played with the same mindset that he always does.
"To be honest, I didn't do anything different from what I was previously doing, in the last game. Only thing was I got a few deliveries on my pads and was able to flick them away for a boundary. I played cricketing shots until I reached my hundred and then played more aggressively. Also a lot of the shots I played went to the boundary, which wasn't the case in many of my previous innings. So just seeing the number of balls I played and the number of runs I got, it might seem like I changed a lot of things but that's not the case. The mindset I have when batting at other times, was the same mindset I had yesterday. I always have a positive intent when batting," Tamim said to the media at Sylhet on Wednesday.
Tamim became the first Bangladesh batsman to score 7,000 ODI runs in that innings but he said that he just focuses on doing well in the next match and not setting any individual landmarks. He also knows that another lean patch with the bat is going to come in the future but he wants to delay that for as long as possible.
"I don't set any landmarks for myself like how many runs I will score or not. Obviously if you ask any cricketer they will tell you that they want to get 10,000 international runs. But I don't think like that, I'm just focused on doing well at the moment. When things were going well for me from 2015-2019 I said that a bad patch will come. And I can tell you now that another one will come. But my job is to try and make sure that it comes as late as possible."
The 30-year-old does admit that there was pressure on him to score runs even though he was feeling good with the bat in practice and even recently against Pakistan. He thanked his close friends and support staff for sticking beside him during this tough time and believing in his ability to overcome this with a big knock.
"There was pressure. If I say there was no pressure, then that would be a lie. But one thing, I would have to says is I wasn't scoring big runs. During practice and when I was playing in Pakistan where I played an innings of 35-36 odd, I was batting well. The goal was to score a big innings but it wasn't happening for a long time. A lot of people deserve credit for this from the team management to the players because they kept on believing in me. Even the board was helpful and before the day of the match, the board president called and gave me words of encouragement. In difficult times like this, it's not easy to get support from everyone so I'm happy that the important people were there. I always want to do something good for the team but it's not always possible. I'll keep on trying so let's see how things go in the future."