Just a day after hosts Bangladesh lost the first ODI to Afghanistan narrowly by 17 runs, the Bangla Tigers’ ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal shocked everyone by announcing his sudden retirement from international cricket with immediate effect.
Iqbal’s abrupt decision to end his 16-long year international career came with just three months left for the ODI World Cup, scheduled to be held in India from October 5 to November 19.
“This is the end for me. I have given my best. I have tried my best. I am retiring from international cricket from this moment. Yesterday against Afghanistan was my last international game. It was not a sudden decision. I was thinking about this for different reasons. I don’t want to mention here. I have spoken to my family members about it. I thought this is the right time for me to retire from international cricket,” Iqbal was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo in a tearful press conference in Chattogram.
Iqbal made his international debut for Bangladesh in February 2007 and went on to play 241 ODIs, amassing 8,313 runs with 14 centuries. He is also the only Bangladesh batsman to have scored centuries in all three formats of the game and had already retired from the shortest format in 2022.
“I don’t have much to say. One thing I will definitely say is, I tried my best (sobbing). I did try my best. Maybe I was not good enough or good enough. I don’t know. But I tried my 100% whenever I was in the field. There are a lot of other things I want to say, but as you can see I am almost unable to speak. But I hope you respect the situation. It is not an easy situation to speak. Quitting international cricket is not easy. I hope you understand. I am sorry to call you on such a short notice. I thank you all in the media,” added an emotional Iqbal.
Iqbal amassed 5,134 runs from 70 Tests, the second-highest for a Bangladesh batter, at an average of 38.89, including ten tons.
As Bangladesh’s ODI captain, he won 21 out of 37 matches and led the team to a third-place finish in the ODI Super League, ensuring their direct qualification for the 2023 ODI World Cup in India later in the year.
“I also want to thank the fans. Your love and faith in me inspired me to give my very best for Bangladesh. I want to ask for your prayers for the next chapter of my life. Please keep me in your prayers. I am sorry if I missed anyone to thank. But whoever has helped me to grow as a cricketer and human being, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. My mother, my brother, my wife and two children. They suffered a lot in my journey. They also had much to cherish. I thank them as well. I have nothing more to say.”
“Please end my topic here. It is the end. At least for international cricket. Let’s not poke too much about it. ‘Why, why, what is it, what else could have happened.’ Let’s put an end to this. I have always said that the team is bigger than any individual. Let’s focus on the team. Two more games to go in the series. I think we should win. There are two major trophies,” concluded Iqbal.