Pune Warriors have signed up Bangladesh batsman Tamim Iqbal for US$ 50000 (42 Lakh Bangladesh Taka), filling all their overseas slots for the coming season. Tamim, whose signing was formalised on Wednesday, became the eleventh overseas player for the Warriors and their second signing this week after Australian captain Michael Clarke.
Tamim and the franchise management, led by their captain Sourav Ganguly, had been involved in talks for the past week. He joins Shakib Al Hasan as the second Bangladesh player in this year’s IPL, and the fifth from that country in the tournament overall.
“I can gain a lot of experience by playing with greats like Sourav Ganguly and Michael Clarke. I like to talk a lot about cricket so I think I am lucky to be playing with them and look forward to learn new things,” Tamim told ESPNCricinfo.
“It’ll be an extra boost, so it is very important that I do well. More importantly, just like Shakib opened the door for me, I would want that with my inclusion in the IPL, it will let other players from my country to play in this competition.
“With the T20 World Cup coming up this year, it will be a big opportunity for me to perform in the format,” Tamim said.
Tamim would look to carry his form into the IPL – he hit four half-centuries in the recent Asia Cup – given his failure during the Bangladesh Premier League last month where he only played two matches for the Chittagong Kings and scored only eight runs.
Tamim Iqbals interview on IPL signing
The dashing opener talked to Daily Sun’s Shishir Hoque about his aspirations, the recently concluded Asia cup, his four fifties in a row, century drought and the off-field dramas.
Daily Sun: Were you surprised with the call from IPL? What was your first reaction?
Tamim Iqbal: Yes, definitely. In just matter of four matches being called up by an IPL franchise is a surprise of course.
SUN: So far in your career, IPL had deceived you a couple of times even when you were in peak form. Did any such memory come to your mind this time around?
Tamim: Sure, in 2010, I think the whole nation was expecting that I was going to play in the IPL. I did quite well at that time against the top teams. But somehow it didn’t happen. Though I was a little bit disappointed, I accepted it as part of my career. But I always knew that I had the capability and I would play sooner or later.
SUN: Any special target or expectations in IPL?
Tamim: I’m not setting any specific target but if I go there and play, I will try to give my best shot and play my best. It’s just not like that ‘Tamim Iqbal is going for IPL’ but it’s like ‘the whole country, Bangladesh is going for IPL’. I’m going there with the tag of my country. It’s a great responsibility.
SUN: Missing the Asia cup for two runs, how much frustrating was that?
Tamim: It was very frustrating. However, I think we played really well. But the most important thing is that, when we started our Asia Cup campaign I never thought we would play this better but we did play some good cricket. We deserved our place in the final and we deserved that cup as well. I’m quiet satisfied with the result.
SUN: Any changes in your daily life after the Asia Cup?
Tamim: Quite a lot. After the Pakistan series, people used to comment or say something negative about me. I think this can happen in anyone’s life. But, after the Asia Cup, people started congratulating me, they are very happy. But I know what I have been through and want to keep those things in my mind. Now I need be disciplined so that my fans don’t have to get hurt as well as me. I will try my best.
SUN: What was the recipe behind Bangladesh’s surprising performance in the Asia Cup?
Tamim: I think the main thing was we were enjoying each others’ performance. When you start enjoying your teammates’ successes, I think then you call yourself a team, which is really important. If we can do so in the future I’m sure Bangladesh cricket will go a long way.
SUN: Just before the Asia Cup, when you heard that you are out of the squad what was the first thing that came to your mind?
Tamim: I was very surprised and hurt as well. I don’t know what the reason was and I don’t want to know as well. It’s past now, so I am not thinking about it, I will just think about the future and the present. You know this kind of things comes to a cricketer’s life. It might happen again in my life. I just need to fight and perform in the middle for my place.
SUN: After that situation, you had tremendous pressures on your shoulder and you had to prove yourself, what was your mind-set?
Tamim: When I started it, it was really difficult set my mind due to the amount of pressure I had to go through the last few months. But in another sense, I was relaxed to know what I need to do. I just concentrated on my batting, practice and worked very hard. I made my own plans and set a goal and in the end it worked.
SUN: Out of the four fifties, which one you think was the best and hardest?
Tamim: Definitely the first one, it was the hardest one. I was under tremendous pressure. I woke up that morning shaking. My legs, hands were shaking I don’t know why. Anyhow, it was a slow fifty but a very important one of my life.
SUN: After these four fifties, do you want to call it the peak of your career?
Tamim: I don’t think so. I think I have done better than this in the past. I think under such situation and circumstance, the series was really important for me. You can say career-saving tournament.
SUN: It has been a long time since you have scored a hundred. The last one was at Old Trafford. Any plans on that?
Tamim: I know it’s been a long time. The worst part was I got enough chances but I couldn’t manage it. I think there is one thing I need to work on seriously. I will try to do it in the domestic leagues. After reaching fifty, I’ll try to bat as long as possible to get the hundred. I need to make scoring hundreds a habit.
SUN: Do you think your Asia Cup performance was a good reply to the critics?
Tamim: I don’t think about the critics and I don’t want to talk about them. My goal is to concentrate on cricket. I don’t care much about the criticism because it’s not in my hands.
SUN: Many of your fans are curious about your celebration after completing the fifty in the final, where did it come from?
Tamim: It came naturally (laughing). One of my directors said that I’m a good actor, so I think that just happened.