Bangladesh cricket superstar Tamim Iqbal has withdrawn his shock retirement from the sport after a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
On Thursday, the veteran opener had broke down in tears while announcing the immediate end to his international career a day after leading his side to a 17-run defeat in the first of a three-match one-day series against Afghanistan.
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But on Friday, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) director Jalal Yunus told the AFP news agency that Tamim had a change of heart after meeting with Hasina at her residence in the capital, Dhaka.
“Tamim Iqbal has withdrawn his retirement decision,” Yunus said.
“However, he will take a six-week rest to regain fitness. He has been under physical and mental pressure in the past six months, which affected his performance,” Yunus added.
Meanwhile, Tamim on his Instagram account posted a picture of him with Hasina with the caption: “Can’t say no to the Honorable Prime Minister”
Tamim’s news conference on Thursday was followed by scathing criticism from BCB President Nazmul Hassan, who called the batsman’s professionalism into question for playing the match despite admitting he was not 100-percent fit.
The 34-year-old player’s meeting with the prime minister took place hours after wicketkeeper-batsman Liton Das was named captain for the remainder of the series against Afghanistan. Earlier in the day, Liton said Tamim’s resignation had taken the team by surprise.
“None of us could realise this decision was coming,” he told reporters. “He gave the Bangladesh team a lot for so many years.”
Tamim’s international career began in 2007 with an One Day International (ODI) match against Zimbabwe. He then shot to fame later that year by hitting a match-winning half-century in Bangladesh’s victory over India in the World Cup in the West Indies.
He averaged 36.62 in 241 ODIs and finished with the most runs (8,313) and hundreds (14) for Bangladesh. He is the third-highest run-scorer among current cricketers, behind India’s Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
Tamim scored 5,134 runs in 70 test matches, the second-highest total for Bangladesh, and added 1,758 runs in 87 T20 internationals before retiring from that form in July 2022.