A day after his stupendous 154, which sealed a series win for Bangladesh and inspired a record run chase, Tamim Iqbal Khan was quietly soaking in the significance of it all.
“This again vindicates my belief in setting goals and working hard to achieve that. This was easily the best innings I have ever played and it is dedicated to my late father. I am an international cricketer today because of him,” said Tamim while speaking from Bulawayo.
“Over the last few months I have often breezed through to 20s and 30s and then played a rash shot to get out. The difference yesterday was that I could pace my innings exactly the way I wanted and according to the need of the hour,” added the holder of Bangladesh’s highest individual ODI innings.
Bangladesh achieved the target of 313 with 13 balls and four wickets to spare and Tamim spoke about an assured calmness in coach Jamie Siddons before Bangladesh went out to bat which was infectious.
“When you are chasing 300 plus there is a lot of stress on the mind and the natural tendency is to go and start hitting. But he (Siddons) never put us under any pressure. We were told that we will get there easily if we play normal cricket. The coach also said that it was not a problem if we got to 50 in the first 10 overs as long as we didn’t lose too many wickets.
‘The dressing room was abuzz too after the Zimbabwe innings. Guys were relaxed, laughing and enjoying themselves. There was confidence oozing from everywhere and I could feel that we were going to get those runs. When the batting started we never panicked and stuck to the plan,” said Tamim who also attributed the success to team spirit and hard work.
“It is not easy to run in Zimbabwe because of the altitude but during the beginning of my innings I had ran fours twice and then carried on batting for 45 overs. We are all working very hard on fitness and skills and the atmosphere in the team is amazing.”
Tamim’s innings partly overshadowed the monumental effort of Charles Coventry who equaled Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar world record score of 194 but Tamim had special words for the 26-year old with whom he was joint man-of-the-match.
“I congratulated him and told him that he could keep the trophy. He deserved it. You don’t make world records everyday. It was a truly magnificent innings.”
Never the animated type Tamim was taking the excitement surrounding his innings in his stride.
“We didn’t celebrate much but it just feels wonderful to see the happy faces. We had a team dinner and had fun. One of our officials did a boogie which added to the enjoyment,” said Tamim who has been promised an added incentive by uncle and national selector Akram Khan who is in Zimbabwe.
“He is very proud and happy and he has promised me a gift. I don’t know what it will be. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!”