Iqbal Eyes Trent Bridge Return

Featured News | 18th July 2011

A few Notts cricketers were relaxing over dinner when Tamim Iqbal turned and, trying to sound casual, asked a question.

"So," he said, "who are the overseas players who have done really well in t20 this year?"

It's a query that can also be read as an acknowledgement by a cricketer who knows he's not worked his way onto that particular list.

Or as Tamim puts it simply: "It could have been better, but it wasn't too bad."

The Bangladeshi international's t20 stay ended on a low note on Friday with a duck at home to Worcestershire – the only one of his five matches played at Trent Bridge.

Signed as temporary international t20 cover when Australia called up Trent Bridge stalwart David Hussey, Tamim has been a solid if unspectacular opener – useful, but probably not up to the rightful billing as one of the world's most destructive t20 batsmen. Highlights included 47 against Yorkshire and a 25-ball 35 against Worcestershire that saw the Sky commentators marvelling at a six Tamim lodged in the members' stand roof at Worcester.

That match and Friday's win over Worcestershire were also massive news back home in Bangladesh, where they were billed as a showdown between Tamim and his Bangladesh teammate Shakib Al Hasan, who also finished his county cricket stint on Friday. They are the first two Bangladeshi cricketers ever to play English county cricket, and their exploits have been pored over back home.

Particularly when they faced each other.

That part – the nation-expects microscope of battling a friend and teammate in England – wasn't easy.

"You have no idea how much pressure that was," Tamim said.

If there's one image that will define Tamim's time with Notts, it's got to be that ball that created work for some Worcestershire roofer.

In England, it earned a chuckle from Bumble and the boys in the Sky studio. In Bangladesh it was front-page news.

There's also been the pressure of being the first – of he and Shakib trying to play in a way that will open the door for other Bangladeshis in county cricket. Tamim badly wants that to happen, as he's been impressed at the way English county cricket is run. In recent years the Bangladesh Cricket Board has made several changes to the structure of domestic cricket amid complaints that its clubs and competitions aren't doing enough to develop the next generation of Bangladeshi cricketers.

Tamim said he believes it's getting better there, but wouldn't mind to see more English-style professional standards.

"That's how it should be in Bangladesh," he said. "Professionalism in cricket, it should be this standard."

Not that it's all been professional stuff while Tamim's been in England. He's an avid shopper. (Not all for himself, he added sheepishly. He had to buy gifts for his sisters). He and Shakib were able to get down to London to spend some time – and from the sounds of it, a not insubstantial amount of money – in Oxford Street.

And he's even broadened his sporting horizons. A couple weeks ago Steven Mullaney had the team round to his to watch Haye v Klitschko. It was the first time Tamim had ever watched a boxing match.

But he'd like to see more. He's never been to a football match. If – ahem – he ever got to spend more time at Trent Bridge, he could go see Forest.

Asked if he'd like that opportunity for future engagements in NG2, he didn't need long to consider. An eyebrow raised, and he sounded like a man with unfinished business.

"If I got the call," he said, "I'd be booking the flight to come back as soon as possible."

Notts' CB 40 match with Essex at Trent Bridge yesterday was abandoned because of the rain. The Outlaws had posted 127-7 from 23 overs but the teams never returned to action due to the weather, with it being declared a no result.

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