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October 20, 2012
Tamim Iqbal will play for Wellington Firebirds in this season's HRV Cup. Tamim will join the New Zealand domestic side after Bangladesh's series against West Indies, and is expected to play seven games in the Twenty20 competition.
Jamie Siddons, the Wellington coach who was in charge of the Bangladesh team between 2007 and 2011, was the key element in the deal as he broached the idea to Tamim a few months ago.
"We are excited to have signed Tamim to play in our T20 competition," Siddons told ESPNcricinfo. "He will be a great addition for the Firebirds. I chose him over the many other overseas candidates because I think he possesses the explosiveness that we need at the top of our batting order. Tamim is yet to take off as a T20 player but I have seen him enough to know that it is going to be very good when he gets it all together in this format. I want my team to benefit from this in our competition this year."
Siddons, however, would have liked to keep the batsman a little while longer, but the start of the Bangladesh Premier League would shorten Tamim's stay by a few matches. "He will only be available for a possible seven games and the final but the BPL will possibly reduce that to six and no final as the dates suggest he would have to leave early which is disappointing."
Siddons said he would have liked if Shakib Al Hasan also joined Tamim at the Wellington side. "We were interested in Shakib but he declined due to injury at the time," Siddons said.
Tamim said that the BCB has given him the No Objection Certificate, though he is likely to miss some form of domestic cricket in Bangladesh after the West Indies series. He could play first-class cricket in New Zealand though Wellington will be playing only two Plunket Shield matches.
"Jamie asked me a few months ago whether I would like to join them," Tamim said. "At the time I was playing the Sri Lanka Premier League and the World Twenty20 was coming up so I didn't proceed with the formalities. The board too has given me the NOC so I will be joining Wellington after the West Indies series."
Tamim's average in Twenty20s is 24.76 and he has played in domestic competitions in Sri Lanka (for Wayamba) and England (Nottinghamshire) with mixed results. Among the other Bangladesh players who have played in domestic first-class tournaments abroad are Shakib (for Worcestershire) and Enamul Haque jnr for Maharashtra.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in BangladeshFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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