Tamim Iqbal May 13, 2012

'I wanted hair like Afridi's'

Tamim Iqbal talks about idolising Boom Boom, and rubbing Rubel up the wrong way

First time I met a hero
I was about seven or eight years old. Shahid Afridi had come play for Abahani Limited, a Dhaka club. Akram Khan, my uncle, had got Afridi to Bangladesh. I could not believe my eyes. I was too young and too shy to say anything to him. He was a heartthrob in Bangladesh and one of the most popular international cricketers after he had scored the fastest ODI century. And here he was, in front of me. I love his dark hair and I tried copying his hairstyle for a while, but it didn't take off. I started to want to hit as far as he hits, and thanks to him I can hit some long balls out of the field.

First notable sledge
It happened when Bangladesh shocked India in a group match in the 2007 World Cup in Port-of-Spain. We were chasing a small target. Munaf Patel was bowling his second over. The first five balls I had not been able to take any run. The final delivery, Munaf pitched it wide of off stump. I stepped out, swung my bat and the top edge went over third man. Munaf was unimpressed and said that I needed to start playing some proper shots. I felt I must be doing something good to get a good international bowler giving me some verbal treatment. I felt good.

First time I took a bowler for granted
Again, this happened in the 2007 World Cup. After my match-winning half-century against India, I was confident. Perhaps, a bit over-confident, as I would find out against Bermuda in another group match. I thought I had faced better bowlers, so I blindly charged Saleem Mukuddem, a medium-fast bowler. I thought I would put him in his place. I stepped out and hit as hard as I could, but the top edge flew over point and third man charged in and took a brilliant catch. It taught me that you can never take anyone for granted in international cricket.

First dressing-down from a coach
It was a domestic first-class match for Chittagong against Sylhet. We had batted on the first day. The next morning I woke up late, at 9am. I drove desperately through the crowded streets of Chittagong to get to the ground, but by the time I got there, the first over had already been bowled. The Chittagong coach, Minhazul Abedin, looked at me in disbelief. I pretended I had been sick overnight, but I didn't get away: after I spent the rest of the day fielding, I was asked to run 20 laps for my mistake.

First time I batted right-handed
Rubel Hossain, the Bangladesh fast bowler, and I have always had verbal duels. He would say how he would easily get me out in the first over he bowled, and I would promise him I would thrash him out of the ground. In 2009 I was playing for Abahani Limited against Gazi Tank, Rubel's team. I had scored 160 and my confidence was high, so I decided the time was ripe to silence Rubel. I played a couple of balls right-handed just to surprise him. I was scared inside as he bowls at speeds of 140kph. I was lucky to escape unhurt!

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on May 16, 2012, 12:59 GMT

    This is a guy who can smash any bowler! I like this agressive batsman, hopefully, the next will be Nasir Hossaain, Anamul after Shakib & Mushfiq.

  • dummy4fb on May 16, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    afridi is not a legend or anything . he is just a decent and stylish player. hes batting and bowling averages in both test and odi matches are just ok to be honest

  • WickyRoy.paklover on May 16, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    @Mohammad najeeb,did u realy meant it,i thnk few gd inings in asia cup 4rm tamem are stil realy playng on ur mind? Lolz,wakeup man asia cup z ovr,@Sandeep_M_J_D,can't u cnsidr him as bowlng alroundr,he z d bst leg spinr in world n would finish as greatest leg spiner with only warne ahead of him(forget kumble)

  • dummy4fb on May 16, 2012, 1:16 GMT

    Imran Abbas - Tamim does it 20x better

  • Syed_imran_abbas on May 15, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    BOOM BOOM is only afridi.. no one else

  • Sandeep.M.J.D on May 15, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    It's not native to write off Afridi here. Every one is excited to see Afridi bat. But Cricket is more than just slogging. After the world has seen Lara, Sachin, Waughs, AB, Astle, Ganguly, Anwar and many other, it will be a downside of Cricket if someone rate Afridi as a lezend. We need to think before we write something.

  • superstar100 on May 14, 2012, 18:36 GMT

    as i m frm india i like tamim i luv his batting. so it's time for boom boom tamim and another guy called boom boom is not making any cotribution with his bat . watching Batsman like tamim,sehwag,watson,gale opening is awsome :) gud luk TaMiM

  • dummy4fb on May 14, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    Why are these people ranting over cricket legends just to know who is better? If you're a fan of cricket you wouldn't even compare legends. I, for one, is a fan of cricket and have always been excited to watch Afridi, Sehwag and now recently Tamim whenever they are on strike, and turns off tv whenever they get out. And also, i turn off tv whenever Dravid is on strike, but then, i wont turn it on again for like 3 or 4 hours, just believing Dravid wouldn't be still playing. I mean no disrespect here to Dravid but its a belief that he wuldnt get out cheaply. So be a fan of cricket, if not, please do not insult other legends. It just shows how naive you're in cricket.

  • captainpermod on May 14, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    Come on Guys!!! Tamim is talking about his childhood heros. Afridi happens to be one of them and he is still playing for his country. I once have the privilige to meet Shoaib Akhtar in Kolkata, while talking about bangladeshi cricketers he rates Tamim Iqbal on top. I seldom have heard about him by that time. But with the due course of time I believe what Shoaib had told me. Tamim you can do better than what you are doing right now. Tamim ROCKS!!!

  • CricketMaan on May 14, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    Afridi needed an Imran Khan in the team, he would have been a far better Test player..his problem was he was not guided and controlled when needed to.rather let become overconfident, brash...nevertheless he didnt have it in him to be the best Test player rather a Boom Boom ODI/T20 player.

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