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Bangladesh 'have a lot to improve in ODI side,' says Tamim

The fact that Bangladesh batters didn't score any hundreds and Zimbabwe had four made "a huge difference," he says

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Tamim Iqbal: "Though I scored some runs, I am not at all happy"  •  AFP/Getty Images

Tamim Iqbal: "Though I scored some runs, I am not at all happy"  •  AFP/Getty Images

Bangladesh's ODI side has to address a number of areas for improvement, according to captain Tamim Iqbal. Their streak of five consecutive series wins was broken by Zimbabwe, who chased down two challenging totals - 291 and 304 - in the first two ODIs, before petering out in a 105-run loss in the third game on Wednesday.
Tamim, who has been in charge of the side since January last year, said that a loss against a lower-ranked side would sting a bit more and hoped that this would ram home the message for improvement in the side.
"Talking about improvement is often boring, and it usually comes up when we have lost a match or a series," Tamim said. "If we had lost to Australia or India, say [Virat] Kohli or [Steven] Smith had played such knocks against us, we wouldn't have really taken it to heart. They are top players. They are top teams. We didn't have much to do. I am not belittling them. [Sikandar] Raza, [Regis] Chakabva and [Innocent] Kaia played unbelievably well, but it proved that we have a lot to improve in our ODI side.
"Ireland, whom we are playing at home and away next year, are also capable of doing similar things. But it doesn't change the fact that we are a serious ODI team. We are a fantastic ODI team. We had a great run but the graph usually comes down. I am not going to blame the batters or the bowlers separately. We didn't do well as a unit, which includes planning and execution. There are a lot of areas to work on to reach the top."
Tamim said that four centuries from Zimbabwe's batters and none from Bangladesh put the two teams apart. Zimbabwe were led by Raza's twin centuries, with Kaia and Chakabva also hitting hundreds in the big chases. Tamim also praised Zimbabwe for winning the series despite playing with a depleted side.
"We couldn't utilise our chances, they utlilised their opportunity," he said. "They didn't have the best possible team. Two of their main fast bowlers were injured, and two batters didn't play. Credit goes to Zimbabwe. Two individuals took the game away in the first two matches. We didn't have hundreds, they had four. It was a huge difference."
Tamim said that he wasn't pleased with his own performance too, despite being one of the few batters showing an intention to score a big one quickly. He struck two half-centuries and was run-out for 19 in the third game.
"Though I scored some runs, I am not at all happy," he said. "It is such a good wicket. You just have to tackle the first ten overs. So getting a 60 and a 50-odd wasn't enough. It was the difference between the two teams. They had four hundred and we had none."
Tamim believes that unless Bangladesh start scoring big like some of the better teams, they will struggle even on good batting pitches like Harare. "It is one of our team goals to score 350, something that we have not done before. The par score will be 300 in the World Cup in India. Apart from Mirpur and some venues in India where you can win games scoring 260-270, most of the venues are 290-310. This is what's happening now. Soon you will see us try to reach what others are reaching."
Bangladesh won the third ODI thanks mainly to Afif Hossain's unbeaten 85 off 81 for which he batted with the tail in the death overs. But Tamim warned that the media shouldn't start labeling him one way or the other, which might affect his rhythm.
"Don't give any names to him yet. It is too early for him," Tamim said. "He has a unique quality of taking the game away under pressure. He will do the same thing and sometimes get out, and then we will question him.
"But I don't want him to lose this quality, which is to want to dominate with the way he bats. It is a fantastic quality to have. It is still very early days for him, and I am pretty sure he will have a fantastic career, but it is too early to give him names."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84