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Tamim left out of Bangladesh's World Cup squad

"He is one of our best players but a back injury concern restricts his ability," says chief selector Minhajul Abedin

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Tamim Iqbal will miss the World Cup  •  AFP/Getty Images

Tamim Iqbal will miss the World Cup  •  AFP/Getty Images

Bangladesh will go to the 2023 World Cup without arguably the best batter in the country's history, as Tamim Iqbal has been left out of the 15-man squad, due to his persistent back injury. ESPNcricinfo had learnt that Tamim had informed the selectors couple of days ago that they should keep his back injury in mind before selecting the final squad.
BCB chief selector Minhajul Abedin explained the exclusion saying, "We are all aware that Tamim Iqbal is a long-term injury concern. He returned for the New Zealand series. After the first match, there was a bit of a complain. We thought of his injury concern when not taking him in the squad. We have spoken to all concerned, before taking this decision. We discussed it with Tamim. We can't tell you what we spoke about. We discussed it with the team management, and didn't want to take a risk in a long World Cup campaign. It is a very important event."
Tamim made 44 runs in the second ODI against New Zealand on September 23, his first innings back in international cricket since reversing his decision to retire in July. It was also followed by an injury layoff which forced him to miss the Asia Cup.
The BCB had initially said that the team for the World Cup would be declared at 5:45pm on Tuesday, but later delayed the announcement to after the third ODI between Bangladesh and New Zealand. The extra couple of hours added fuel to speculation that there may be a last minute change, but it wasn't to be.
Tamim had said after the New Zealand match that there was still some discomfort in his back, which the team's physios were trying to help him overcome.
The medical team decided to rest Tamim, along with a number of other players from the ODI side, for the third game against New Zealand.
"You can't take risk with some injuries," Abedin said. "If someone gets injured in the World Cup, it will get the team management into an uncomfortable situation. He played the first two matches, but we had to rest him. He had a bit of pain after the second game. We considered this before taking the decision.
"Tamim is one of our best players but an injury concern restricts his ability. He had suffered with back pain for a long time so the New Zealand series was a chance to check his fitness. He played the second game fully, but he didn't play the third match. We discussed it with the medical team, after which we took the decision."
The rest of the Bangladesh squad is mostly predictable, with Shakib Al Hasan in charge as captain. Litton Das will have Tanzid Hasan as his opening partner while Najmul Hossain Shanto will be the designated No 3 and the team's vice-captain. Shakib, Towhid Hridoy and Mushfiqur Rahim will form the middle-order, while Mahmudullah and Mahedi Hasan are the middle to lower-order batting options.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz who has batted in four positions in ODIs this year, will continue to be the floater. Mehidy is likely to open in certain matches, but his main role has been at No 7.
The pace attack includes Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Hasan Mahmud, Mustafizur Rahman and Tanzim Hasan. Left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed finds himself in the World Cup squad after a late rally with some impressive showings in the Asia Cup recently.
The squad includes four players from the Under-19 World Cup winning side from 2020: Hridoy, Shoriful, Tanzid and Tanzim.
The exclusion from the World Cup side all but confirms that Tamim has played his last ODI for Bangladesh. He has had a storied career for Bangladesh, having opened for them in all three formats between 2007 and 2020. He is their leading run-scorer in ODIs, and led the current side to an automatic spot at the World Cup. But after a bout of injuries and allegations of unprofessionalism from BCB president Nazmul Hassan, Tamim retired from international cricket on July 6.
The following day, the country's prime minister Shiekh Hasina asked Tamim to reconsider his decision, which he agreed to, but then needed a long break to recover from his back trouble. Tamim gave up the captaincy in August, after which the BCB named Shakib as the ODI captain, giving him that duty for all three formats.
World Cup Squad: Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mushfiqur Rahim, Litton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto (vice-capt), Towhid Hridoy, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan, Tanzid Hasan, Tanzim Hasan, Mahmudullah

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84