Bangladesh unaffected by Tamim issue
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has spoken out for the first time about Tamim Iqbal's resignation as vice-captain, urging the seniors to take charge of the situation. Apart from a 48-hour media ban and a statement from the BCB president, the team has been largely left unaffected by the controversy.
Mortaza was announced as captain hours after the end of the drawn second Test. However, the Bangladesh's match-saving performance was soured by Tamim pulling out of the deputy's role, explained in public as a decision to ease his game but it was a slight to his persona.
"The captain was not immediately announced after Mushfiqur Rahim was out injured. At that point it was our focus that those of us who are here, we have to play as a team," Mortaza said. "When the board let me know, we were all there. We are all professional cricketers and it didn't affect us. It's only natural for it to be spoken of outside but amongst us we didn't face any frictions.
"I have been given the duty so I feel that it is my duty. At the same time, Tamim and other senior players are helping me and everything is happening in a professional manner."
There were reports that Mortaza had to spend time with Tamim to clear the air, but the makeshift captain dismissed them. He also explained that the media ban was to protect the new players from speculation.
"To be honest, I didn't have to speak with him separately because he is a very professional cricketer and he has played all around the world. He knows the process very well. I want to tell all the fans of Bangladesh that we haven't been concerned at all regarding this issue.
"We are together united as a team and we are focused completely on the match tomorrow. This was no problem at all. The reason behind the ban against speaking to the media was that we have plenty of young players in our side, so that they can be prepared and concentrate during practice. We have some uncapped players, so that they could concentrate more on practice."
Despite all the talk, Tamim's neck-strain hasn't healed and during practice on the eve of the match, he had a light knock. It will be touch-and-go and his participation in the game will hinge on a last-minute call made by the team's physio.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here