New Zealand in Bangladesh 2013-14

Tamim hopes to end century drought

Tamim Iqbal hasn't scored a Test century in the last three years. Though his colleagues have progressed on that front, a big score from their opener is as crucial to the team's success

Mohammad Isam

October 7, 2013

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A

Tamim Iqbal plays a shot through the offside, Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, 3rd day, Colombo, March 18, 2013
Tamim Iqbal last scored a Test century in June 2010 © AFP
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Going through nine Tests without a century can't be labeled a crisis, but the wait for Tamim Iqbal has been for more than three years. The dry period hasn't affected his position in the team, but neither is it befitting for an opener of such high regard.

Bangladesh's opponents would always consider him among the three or four players who could be trouble. Tamim has been Bangladesh's mainstay in the top order, and his aggression has always threatened good bowling attacks. His approach has remained almost the same over the last six years since his Test debut. The repertoire has widened, as he has worked extensively to curb out flaws and look for more scoring areas.

After his initial burst in the 2007 World Cup, Tamim had to rebuild his game on the leg side with Jamie Siddons, the former Bangladesh coach. This development in his game was considered as a factor that set him apart from any opener who has played for Bangladesh. He reeled off seven centuries in the three seasons after March 2008, but it all stopped in June 2010.

Interestingly, during his dry period, six of his team-mates have scored one century each. It helps the rest of the batting line-up if he scores big, particularly for the Bangladesh team that craves for a good start from the openers. Before Tamim, Bangladesh had to be content with defensive openers, many of whom struggled against good pace.

Earlier this year he did score an ODI hundred against Sri Lanka, breaking his long-standing drought in all formats. It was an innings which released the pressure at the time, but still, the drought in Test cricket is gnawing at him.

"Of course the target in this series will be to score a hundred," Tamim told ESPNcricinfo. "I haven't scored one in eight or nine Tests. I did score an ODI hundred against Sri Lanka. But I would like to bring back that aspect of my game.

"Some of my colleagues have been scoring hundreds too. Mushfiqur [Rahim] got a double-hundred, Ashraful bhai scored 190. Nasir [Hossain] scored a hundred. These innings motivate me. I want to score hundreds too, and now is a good time."

He had similarly looked forward to a hundred a year ago ahead of last season's home series against West Indies. He had vowed that he would be disciplined in his batting, but in his first innings in the series, Tamim attempted a forehand smash to a wide delivery from Darren Sammy, which ended up softly in mid-on's hands. He was on 72, and a hundred was for the taking.

He also got out poorly against West Indies in the 2011-12 series, when he top-edged a slog-sweep in Chittagong to get out on 52. He had looked calm in his approach till that point, having played one of his slowest knocks.

In the Mirpur Test, he got out on 83 in the second over of the fifth day, one that was vital to Bangladesh's survival in the series. He under-edged an expansive cover drive from Devendra Bishoo, only to be caught behind.

Since June 2010, Tamim has averaged 31.38 in 18 innings with just four half-centuries, but the New Zealand series has encouraged Tamim to think positively. "I am more hopeful about this Test series than the last ten Tests. It is our home ground, where we have started to push teams.

"Results recently have been very close. We hope to turn those results towards us. We know their weaknesses, so we will have to take advantage of it."

The positive intent of the rest of the team is one of the factors that is encouraging Tamim. The opposition too, particularly the memory of sitting injured in the dressing room in the last New Zealand series at home, is exciting him.

"We are thinking positively but this is a different ball game. We have a lot to improve on. We know what their weaknesses are. At most times we haven't taken advantage of the opposition's weakness. But here we are working on their weakness. We hope it will be a spinning wicket in which we can stifle them, like we did to them the last time."

It doesn't take Tamim much to change gear in the middle. He can turn around a match at the onset, because Bangladesh often begins as the underdog. Now to revive an important aspect of his career, he has to shift gears a little more carefully. A Tamim century will make a lot of difference, especially with so many of his colleagues now as confident as him.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Fogu on (October 8, 2013, 12:27 GMT)

Hoping for a good series. Last home series BD had a chance to win against WI but let it slip away. Hoping for the team to show more maturity and aptitute to play good five days of test cricket. Marshal Ayub and Mominul/Naeem need to stick it out for atleast 25-30 overs each in the middle to stabilize top/middle order. Historically position 2, 3 and 4 have been a problem for BD. We need stability there to put up a good score. Good luck to both teams.

Posted by Ajmal_Chucker on (October 8, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

@Siddharth: lol funny guy Tamim has a test 100 against your pathetic bowling line-up. Yeah we know who scored the 100 100 against the team :)

Posted by Baundele on (October 8, 2013, 5:06 GMT)

Tamim is still living in Jamie Siddons' era. His target should be winning matches for the team, not being happy with personal centuries.

Posted by   on (October 8, 2013, 3:47 GMT)

Average of 50 for Bangladesh cannot be compared to average of 50 by a batsman from the top teams. Bangladesh mostly plays average of 50 is like average of 30 actually.

Posted by   on (October 8, 2013, 3:28 GMT)

He still has a better Test average than Dave Warner. I'd choose Tamim any day.

Posted by asiacricket1234 on (October 7, 2013, 22:50 GMT)

Its unfair how some people saying that he cant play. His average is near 50 and he have played some good innings in those 9 tests. Hopefully he will get 100's in this series

Posted by   on (October 7, 2013, 22:47 GMT)

Mahmudullah , sakib , tamim are 3 big key player for bangladesh

Posted by Ajmal_Chucker on (October 7, 2013, 19:08 GMT)

He scores too many fifties but conversion rate is so poor. We still don't have 1 batsman that can score regular hundreds whereas most of the other teams have batsman that can do that. First class structure needs massive improving.

Posted by   on (October 7, 2013, 18:44 GMT)

Tamim please back up what you say! Time and time again I see the same talk but nothing materializes. Tamim you will improve but play sensibly, get more fitter than you will get those desired results.

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