The storm over Bangladesh's squad selection for the ICC World Cup looks set to boil over, as the country's most accomplished batsman, Tamim Iqbal, revealed that he asked to be excluded after it was suggested he give up his position at the top of the order in the opening match against Afghanistan.
He, however, didn't disclose who was that ‘prominent figure’ who requested him to bat in the lower-order.
Prior to Tamim's decisive stance, former Bangladesh captain Masrafe Bin Mortaza contended that it was not accurate to say that Tamim was left out; rather, he chose to step aside.
In a video posted on his social media this afternoon, Tamim addressed recent developments regarding his World Cup participation and his fitness, emphasizing the need for his fans and the public to know the truth.
Following the announcement of the World Cup squad, Bangladesh's chief selector, Minhajul Abedin, stated that Tamim was excluded due to concerns about his fitness, mentioning that an old injury resurfaced, preventing him from playing the last ODI against New Zealand.
While acknowledging some discomfort, Tamim clarified, "I'm not injured yet. As I've returned to cricket after a gap of four to five months, it's normal to have some pain."
Tamim disclosed that the physio had assessed his fitness before the last match of the New Zealand series and confirmed that while he experienced pain, he was available for selection. However, opting for rest would ensure better rehabilitation before Bangladesh's first World Cup match. Consequently, Tamim made the decision not to play the final match against New Zealand.
Challenging anyone to dispute the physio's report in a public forum, Tamim asserted, "The physio report didn't state that I would be unable to play."
Tamim recounted receiving a call from an "influential figure" at BCB who advised him not to play the first match of the World Cup.
"I told him we are still 12-13 days away from the first match, and I would be better by then," Tamim explained. "Then he asked me to bat lower in the order if I wanted to play the first match. I couldn't accept it well. I got angry and reacted accordingly."
At this juncture, as Tamim clarified, he opted not to be part of the World Cup squad.
"I informed him that if they wanted me to bat lower despite my 17-year history as an opener, they should exclude me from the World Cup squad," Tamim elucidated, revealing his rationale for skipping the tournament.