Ban vs Eng – Tamim Iqbal – On-pitch relationship with Shakib Al Hasan is fine

Bangladesh ODI captain Tamim Iqbal and Test captain Shakib Al Hasan may not be on the best of terms off the pitch, but Tamim is of the firm opinion that their on-pitch relationship is working properly. He said this at a press conference in Dhaka on Sunday ahead of Bangladesh’s ODI series against England.
Shakib is part of the squad for this series, but was not present with the team in preparation; Tamim said it’s because he’s away on family business.
“The important thing is that when Shakib and I wear the Bangladeshi shirt, we are doing our best. And if we are helping each other when we lead the teams, nothing else matters,” Tamim said in response to questions about a disagreement between the two, provoked by comments made by the head of the BCB, Nazmul Hasan, in an interview with Cricbuzz. “Whatever anyone is saying, whether we have coffee together or not, those things don’t matter.

“I can assure you that I always get his help as ODI captain and I am always available if you need any suggestions in the Test team. When we bat together or celebrate his wicket it is absolutely normal.”

Shakib was unavailable for comment as he is in the US for family reasons. Tamim said he would prefer to have Shakib in the squad ahead of the England series, but he understands why Shakib needs to be out. “It’s definitely important that the whole team is united. But I’ve said before that family is the most important thing. Family is above everything.”

Tamim said he sat down with Shakib in a meeting to sort things out, but didn’t elaborate. “(The meeting) was between two individuals who are very important members of the team. The matter shouldn’t have left that room. I’m not commenting on that. Anything (settling their disagreements) is possible.”

When asked if it was distracting to deal with these issues before a big series, Tamim said he thought it was more important for him to clear the air. “I’ve been prepared since yesterday (when Nazmul’s interview came out). I’ve never seen so many journalists in a room. I knew these questions would come.

“The important thing is that when Shakib and I wear the Bangladeshi shirt, we are doing our best. And if we are helping each other when we lead the teams, nothing else matters.”

Tamim Iqbal says all is well with Shakib Al Hasan

“It would have been very easy for me to say ‘No comment, let’s move on’ but I think it was important to get my message across to journalists and fans alike.”

Tamim said he didn’t notice any cliques in the team, but the news usually comes out in the media when the team is not doing well. “I’ve been playing for Bangladesh for 17 years. At different times when the team wasn’t doing well, that term was used. I’m not just saying that – I’m a pretty straightforward person and I’ve never seen groups in my career.

“I don’t know if this has developed over the last six months when I wasn’t with the team, but it doesn’t feel like it. I haven’t seen anything in the last three or four days (during prep camp). But unfortunately, when the team is not doing well, this term comes up. Now the team is doing well. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s okay.”

The first of Bangladesh’s three ODIs against England will be played on 1 March, followed by three T20Is. ODIs are part of the current Superliga, from which the top eight teams will gain direct qualification for the World Cup later this year. Bangladesh is currently sixth in the points table, with England in third.

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