England v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Old Trafford, 2nd day June 5, 2010

Tamim's primetime repeat

Tamim Iqbal produced his own highlights reel on the second day at Old Trafford

When cricket matches are interrupted by the weather, broadcasters like to fill the spare hours with highlights packages from previous games. Given this is a Manchester Test anyone watching the box on Saturday afternoon could have been forgiven for thinking the area was living up to its damp reputation, as Tamim Iqbal flayed England around the ground. But as it happened, the sun was beating down on Old Trafford and instead Tamim was producing his own rerun of that memorable effort from Lord's with a second flamboyant hundred in six days.

Compared to his club over long-on on that occasion, the square cut that brought him his run-a-ball hundred at Old Trafford seemed almost restrained, but it didn't prevent him from celebrating with the same sprint and leap towards the dressing room.

His sense of adventure makes him such a watchable batsman and even for a patriotic Manchester crowd there must have been a sense of disappointment when he edged a cut against the local star James Anderson. The Bangladesh demise that followed, losing 10 for 90 in a session as they failed to avoid the follow-on, made it hard for Tamim to savour another fabulous innings.

"Personally it was great, but the team matters," he said. "We didn't play well after a solid start so I'm not that happy. It was really bad. Everyone is really disappointed. We knew we had a perfect opportunity but just threw it away. We are very young but need to learn, it was a perfect set-up."

Tamim is already the finest batsman Bangladesh have produced and at the age of 21 is their second-highest century-maker behind Mohammad Ashraful. The pair make an interesting comparison; both oozing with natural talent, but so far only one is making the most of it. It was interesting to see the start of Ashraful's innings when he arrived with Bangladesh wobbling. He took 22 balls to find the boundary and almost seemed to be willing himself to be restrained, yet threw his start away with a slash to gully for a laboured 45-ball 11. The mantle of Bangladesh's trailblazer has well and truly been handed over.

"When I started Test cricket I was just trying to survive," said Tamim. "I spoke to Jamie [Siddons, the coach] about how to play and he said bat like you do in the ODIs, go out there and enjoy yourself. I always say some days it will look fantastic and other days it will look ugly, but I should carry on this way."

An IPL contract is surely just around the corner for Tamim when the next auction takes place, but while that will boost his bank balance, the greater benefit for Bangladesh cricket would be for him to be picked up by a county. Shakib Al Hasan will be the first Bangladeshi to do so when he joins Worcestershire after the one-day series in July and Tamim should not be far behind.

His wrist injury may prevent anyone signing him for the latter stages of this season, but at the moment Bangladesh are reasonably free from commitments after the 2011 World Cup. A season testing himself in English conditions would allow him to accumulate a wealth of knowledge, which he could then pass on back home as hopefully Shakib will also do.

"I'd love to see him get picked up by a county," Siddons said the day before the Test. "Timewise, he needs a rest at the end of the one-day series. We've had nearly eight months now of solid cricket and the boys are tired. But he is one person that would thrive in the environment, thrive living here and obviously Twenty20 is a real market for him as well as 40-over cricket and [four-day] county cricket. He's made big scores against India and a hundred here and he can do the same thing against county attacks I'm sure."

Now that Tamim has got the taste for Test hundreds the next stage of his development is to build on them. At Lord's he hooked to deep square-leg moments after reaching his ton and here he edged a ball he could barely reach. The period shortly after reaching a hundred is often a weak point for a batsman, but Tamim has the talent to overcome this hurdle, as a career-best 151 against India already testifies.

It is even more important for him to do that regularly, however, because Bangladesh still have a tendency to collapse in a heap, as they demonstrately spectacularly today. From 126 without loss it was a non-stop clatter of wickets. While Siddons will have praised Tamim he will have equally cursed the shots played by Jahurul Islam, bowled through the gate, and Shakib who edged a wild drive against Swann, especially as these batsmen are brought up playing spin for a living.

"It's spinning a lot but we should be adjusted to that because we see a lot back at home," Tamim admitted. "We need to figure out what is going wrong and improve in the second innings."

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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