Shakib Al Hasan says Tamim Iqbal is ‘childish’ and ‘not a team man’ after World Cup omission

Shakib Al Hasan, has launched a scathing attack on Tamim Iqbal ahead of the World Cup, calling him “childish” and criticising Tamim for putting himself ahead of the team’s needs.

Tamim has been in and out of the Bangladesh side, battling a persistent back injury, which on Tuesday was cited as the reason for his exclusion from the World Cup squad. Except, earlier today, Tamim took to Facebook to insist he would have been fit enough to take part in the tournament and that the reason he won’t be travelling to India is because he had grown weary of the BCB creating roadblocks for him. One of which, he said, was a top board official asking him to bat down the order.

“I am sure someone who is authorized had said this (to Tamim),” Shakib, the Bangladesh captain, told the Dhaka-based TV channel T-Sports in an interview that was aired on Wednesday night. “I am sure whoever has said it, he thought of the team. A lot of things go into building a combination for a match. So if someone has said this to him, was it wrong? Or we can’t make such a proposal? I am just going to tell someone that you can do whatever you want. Is the team first or the individual?”

In a sustained and unsparing critique, Shakib said Tamim was being selfish in not thinking of the team.

“Someone like Rohit Sharma built his career from No. 7 to opener, scored 10,000-plus runs. If he sometimes bats at No 3 or 4, would it be a big problem? It is totally childish. It is my bat, I will play. No one else can play. A player should bat at any position for the team. Team first. It doesn’t make any difference if you have made 100 or 200, and the team loses. What can you do with personal achievement? You want to make a name for yourself?

“You are not thinking about the team at all. People don’t understand these things. Why was the proposal given to him? It was for the team. What is wrong in that? You are a team man when you agree to such a proposal. Unless you are thinking along those lines, you are not a team man. You are playing for individual records, success, fame, and name. Not for the team.”

Tamim’s troubles began in July during a home series against Afghanistan, where he said he was playing through a back injury, the same one that he is currently managing. It led to his missing the Asia Cup and the final match of his comeback series as well, against New Zealand, earlier this week.

Shakib said he didn’t want to carry a player with a fitness question mark over him into the World Cup and even went to the extent of saying anyone playing without being 100% fit is cheating the team.

“I didn’t discuss the subject with the particular player, medical team or selector. It is definitely the board’s decision. People might doubt my capability or capacity but someone like MS Dhoni, who has won everything and has the knowledge and sense, once said that the unfit player who is playing is cheating his team and country. I think we should accept it, and not just Tamim but every player (that you have to be fully fit when playing for the team or country).”

Other teams have similar concerns, like New Zealand have named their captain Kane Williamson for the World Cup despite him not being 100% after an ACL injury. But there has already been clarity around the extent of his participation and the lack of certainty when it comes to Tamim appears to be a sticking point.

“Kane Williamson won’t play the first two matches, but then he will start playing,” Shakib said. “If I knew something like this, I wouldn’t have any problems. But if I know that there’s uncertainty about him playing the seventh or the third or the first game, or that I will only know in the morning of the game, it will be difficult for me to select the team. I don’t think we need such a player.”

There has been speculation that Tamim was only fit enough to play five matches at the World Cup and though the opener has refuted them as lies, not everyone is convinced.

“I certainly heard that he will play selectively,” Shakib said. “A journalist can’t really tell you that he will come to the office an hour before he wants to come to office. If you ask me personally, if I was the company CEO, I won’t keep that employee. Although I never had any discussion about this matter.”

Shakib also took a dim view of Tamim choosing to resign as ODI captain just two months out from the World Cup. “I have often heard in the dressing room that he is leaving the captaincy. Even a player once told him that ‘bhai, leave it early so that the new captain gets a bit of time’. Exactly that’s what happened. The one who came in, didn’t get the time. Each and everyone knew including the selectors and board officials. Papon bhai (BCB president Nazmul Hassan) certainly knew about it.

“I don’t know why he didn’t leave it (earlier). He can tell you. It is like, your commander takes you to war but (Shakib mimicking a solider) after he has got you ready, the commander isn’t telling you to fire or retreat. Where will you go? We were in this situation in the last two matches against Afghanistan (in July).

“The captain wouldn’t have changed ahead of the Asia Cup and the World Cup, unless he himself announced that he was resigning or retiring. It would have happened 18 months ago, when everyone knew what was about to happen.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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