When Tamim Iqbal shared a video for his fans announcing that he had a meeting with the selectors and had decided not to be in the upcoming T20 world cup, it really raised a plethora of questions and concerns.
Being one of the best batsmen for Bangladesh in the past decade, his absence on such a huge occasion was bound to do so. But one thing which managed to escape everyone’s attention was the role of selectors here.
In his video, Tamim pointed out three reasons for such a huge call: Lack of game time, a minor injury, and the point that he put the maximum emphasis on is that he thinks it’s unfair of him to take positions of the players who played regularly while he was absent.
He also cleared the fact that the first two was not really a problem for him and rightly so. He would have been well-fit before the world cup.
Bangladesh’s journey in the world cup starts on October 17. But their main campaign should start after October 24, given that they should pass the qualifiers easily. By then, Bangladesh will have played three qualifiers and two practice matches which should have been enough practice for someone like Tamim.
That being said, it is clear that Tamim took this decision based on his thought of unfairness towards his teammates. And that’s where the question arises regarding the selectors. It is being well-known from various sources that they really tried to keep Tamim in the squad.
In the last two years, Bangladesh played 27 T20Is and Tamim Iqbal featured in only four of them. So the first question is, why even someone might be considered for the world cup when he played only four matches in the last two years?
One can say that his experience matters and those who were playing instead of him didn’t show much promise either. But then the concern over the competence of the selection panel becomes much bigger.
If they want to keep Tamim even after every odds, then this should mean that they don’t trust others in place of him. So there should be no question of unfairness because they have a plan and process and they know what they are doing.
But then a player, no matter how big the name is, withdraws his name on his own and we are forced to ask if a player can take such decisions, what are the selectors there for? It’s not only a one-off matter. Even in the 2019 World Cup, selectors picked Abu Jayed Chowdhury Rahi over Taskin Ahmed but then considered replacing Rahi with Taskin. Only a fifer from Rahi against Ireland saved his World Cup spot. Why would you take someone if he needs a fifer to prove him?
It is said that, among the 15 players selected for a World Cup squad, 12-13 of them are always obvious. You need to select only 2-3 players actually.
Given the circumstances, taking Tamim was one of such few decisions that the selectors failed to take.
A player can ask for his exemption. Fitness, mental health, lack of confidence, personal problems can be easily considered. But when someone‘s taking the decision which was to be taken by the selectors, and they are happy with that decision afterwards because they don’t want to be a villain in front of everyone, then their competency is ought to be questioned.
The writer is currently an HSC graduate from Dhaka Residential Model College