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Mohammad Isam in Mirpur
November 14, 2012
There's an innings that Tamim Iqbal can't seem to forget. When he spoke to ESPNcricinfo a few days ago, he used it to explain why he missed so many hundreds in the past and said he wanted to instil some restraint into his game. After throwing it away again on the second day of this Test match, Tamim remembered the moment he had a brain-freeze in the eighties against West Indies in the Dhaka Test last year.
Regardless of the situation, Tamim's approach rarely differs from his natural instinct. But the innings he keeps referring to also had a period when he batted out the last hour and a half of a crucial fourth day scoring very few. He had called it a breakthrough in his career at the time, and though he got restless and was dismissed early the next morning, it was understood he could grit it out in Test cricket.
A year ago, an ability to change gears in Test cricket was hailed as progress, but now Tamim has suggested he is better off sticking to his attacking mind-set.
"The last time I made around 80 at this ground, I played out 15-20 overs when I had made only 10 runs [against West Indies]. It is probably how one should bat in a Test match but everyone has an individual plan due to difference of mentality," Tamim said at the end of the day's play. "I wanted to bat long [in this game], so that it would help the team. I also wanted to keep my aggressive approach intact. I think I was thinking properly, but the shot was wrong.
"I started well and I was playing as I normally do but I didn't want to be bogged down. I was leaving the good balls when Sammy was bowling. I would say it was a bad shot. The open leg-side field played on my mind. It was a bad decision because it wasn't the right ball to play that shot."
After West Indies had declared surprisingly at the stroke of tea, it was clear Tamim wanted to open up. The 16-run sixth over off Tino Best had a straight drive and a cover drive but Tamim was also brutal on the short deliveries. He played one towards midwicket, keeping the ball down, and then smashed the next through the same region. He also launched Sunil Narine for two sixes as he moved from 45 to 57.
But just as Tamim took advantage of their lengths, West Indies began to take advantage of his hastiness and his reputation to be erratic after crossing the 50-mark. After two more boundaries off Ravi Rampaul, Tamim was strangled by Narine and Sammy, both by their lengths and the fields they had set.
Tamim tried to explain why his approach is correct: "There are two types of batsmen. Some score runs and get set, and some spend time at the crease to get set. I am from the first group, I am settled quickly when I see runs on the scoreboard.
"I don't want to let go of my strength, but it is true I have got out at strange times and playing strange shots. It is natural for such things to happen because I am a stroke player. Still, it is not an excuse for getting out in this manner."
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, whose double-century pushed West Indies into a strong position, also backed Tamim's belligerent approach. "That's his style," Chanderpaul said. "We can't be surprised [at] how Christopher Gayle bats also. He bats one way, we can't tell him how to bat. If Tamim has his style, he has to play his game."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in BangladeshFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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