Tamim targets return during West Indies Tests

Tamim Iqbal brought up his 25th Test half-century Associated Press

Tamim Iqbal hopes to mark his return to competitive cricket when West Indies tour Bangladesh later this month for a full series. He had originally targeted the second Test against Zimbabwe in Mirpur.

Tamim has only now returned to batting against the cricket ball this week, after undergoing rehabilitation for a wrist fracture. Tamim injured himself while batting during the Asia Cup opener in September, a game remembered for his heroic return to bat with one hand, with Bangladesh nine down.

"I think I will be fit for the first Test [against West Indies]," Tamim said. "I always wanted to play the second Test against Zimbabwe, at least that was the plan three or four weeks ago. I am not ready. I don't think the physio will even permit me. It has just been three days of batting against spin bowling and the dog-stick. It is actually semi-batting what I am doing right now. Unless I start full-fledged nets, it won't be fair for the team to declare myself fit."

Tamim still had some discomfort while playing certain strokes. "Today [Thursday] is probably the third day that I am batting. I haven't had a full net session. There's a lot of difference between playing 130-140kph and playing against spin and the dog-stick. As of now, things are looking very positive. In the next three days, there's going to be a full net session, after which I can tell where I am at."

Batting and net sessions aside, Tamim had words of encouragement for Bangladesh despite their loss in Sylhet. According to him, while there remains room for improvement in the longest format, the loss wasn't a reflection of the progress they've made in Tests over the last two years, particularly at home where they've beaten England and Australia.

"They will bounce back. I know that we didn't play our best cricket. We are a much better team than this," he said. "It is a fact that we haven't performed in Tests, like we have done in ODIs. I don't think any of our team members said that we have become a very strong Test team.

"But it is also true that we have started to play better Test cricket than five years ago. We have defeated two of the best sides in the world. But our West Indies Test series wasn't good at all. Our graph in Test cricket hasn't gone as high as we'd liked."