Tamim Iqbal steps down as Bangladesh ODI captain, misses Asia Cup

In a shocking development, Bangladesh's cricket team faces a significant setback as Tamim Iqbal, the ODI captain, announced his decision to step down from his leadership role.

This decision comes amidst his ongoing struggle with a recurring back injury, which will also force him to miss the upcoming Asia Cup.

Iqbal's decision to relinquish captaincy arrives less than a month after he had initially decided to retire from international cricket, a decision that he later reversed.

He discussed his decision to step down as captain with Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, BCB president Nazmul Hassan, and cricket operations chairman Jalal Yunus.

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Expressing his concerns, Iqbal said, “I believe injury is an issue. I took an injection [on July 28], but it is like a hit or miss.” He elaborated that prioritizing his health over the team's immediate needs is the best decision at this point. He aims to perform to the best of his ability as a player when the opportunity arises.

Tamim Iqbal

Iqbal's back injury, involving the L4 and L5 discs, has been a source of discomfort for almost a year. The recent treatment in London, involving two injections, provided some relief. However, Iqbal has been advised to rest until August 11, followed by a period of rehabilitation. This schedule clashes with the team's departure for the Asia Cup on August 26, which makes his participation unviable.

Jalal Yunus explained, “Tamim Iqbal has been suffering from an injury in his L4 and L5 in his back. He has been in treatment for almost a year. He went abroad, consulted several doctors.” The official added that the hope is for Iqbal to return for the home ODI series against New Zealand and the World Cup in October.

Despite the setback, Iqbal remains hopeful of a comeback against New Zealand. “We planned it so that the hit-or-miss situation of the injection can be mitigated. I want to play the New Zealand series in the best possible shape,” he added.

While the decision to step down as captain was difficult, Iqbal deemed it an “unselfish” option. “The [captaincy] journey has been fantastic. The results speak for themselves. It would have been very selfish of me if I had stayed on as captain. Whoever knows me, knows that I put the team ahead of myself.”

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BCB president on Tamim Iqbal stepping down as captain

BCB President Nazmul Hassan expressed shock at Tamim Iqbal's decision and underscored the need to appoint a new ODI captain ahead of the World Cup. Hassan also raised concerns about the handling of Iqbal's injury and called for an investigation. “There was definitely negligence. This shouldn't have come this far,” he stated.

“It is certainly a shock for us,” Hassan said of Tamim's decision. “We were not prepared for this decision. We have to now name an ODI captain at least till the World Cup; it won't be for one or two series.”

“Tamim did his scans in Dhaka, India, Bangkok and London. This is the first time, from London, I saw a report that showed that he has a problem [in his back]. I told him to take Dr Debashish Chowdhury [the BCB's chief medical officer] on a conference call. “I heard about the injury four or five days ago. I lost my temper when I saw his report. We have to investigate this matter further. I hope this doesn't happen again,” he concluded.

The developments around Iqbal's health and leadership role have left the team and the board in a precarious situation. As they prepare for the Asia Cup and the World Cup, the Bangladesh Cricket Board now faces the task of managing Iqbal's recovery and appointing a new captain.


Rohit is an experienced cricket writer based in India