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Tamim out of Asia Cup with back injury, steps down as ODI captain

The BCB is hopeful he will recover in time for the home ODI series against New Zealand, starting September 21

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
03-Aug-2023 • 13 hrs ago
File photo - Tamim Iqbal at a press conference  •  AFP via Getty Images

File photo - Tamim Iqbal at a press conference  •  AFP via Getty Images

Tamim Iqbal will miss the upcoming Asia Cup as his recurring back injury is unlikely to heal in time. At the same time, he has stepped down as Bangladesh's ODI captain to give more clarity to the team and the BCB ahead of the World Cup.
Tamim is now preparing to play the home ODI series against New Zealand which begins on September 21, in between the Asia Cup and World Cup.
Tamim's decision to step down from the captaincy come less than a month after he withdrew his retirement from international cricket. Tamim had retired on July 6 but the following afternoon, Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina requested him to reverse his decision.
Tamim said that he told the prime minister of his decision to step down as captain on Thursday, after which he had a long discussion with BCB president Nazmul Hassan and cricket operations chairman Jalal Yunus at Hassan's residence.
"I believe injury is an issue," Tamim said. "I took an injection [on July 28], but it is like a hit or miss. I have told them [the board] about the problem. I have always helped the team over everything else. So keeping that in mind, stepping down is the best possible decision. I want to give my best as a player whenever the opportunity comes. I have spoken to the prime minister, and she understood."
Jalal said that Tamim is ruled out of the Asia Cup due to the long rehabilitation period but is preparing for the ODIs against New Zealand and the World Cup in October. "He has been suffering from an injury in his L4 and L5 in his back," he said. "He has been in treatment for almost a year. He went abroad, consulted several doctors. Recently, he consulted a doctor in London.
"The diagnosis was that his pain is generating from L4 and L5 discs. He was given two injections. The second injection, given on July 28, relieved him of pain. He has been advised to rest for two weeks, till August 11, after which he will resume his rehab. But he can only return to the nets in another two weeks. By that time, we are leaving for Asia Cup, on August 26.
"If he undergoes surgery, returning [soon] will be very difficult. He is unlikely to do that, so we are expecting him to return for the New Zealand series."
Tamim is also hopeful of a comeback against New Zealand. "We planned it so that the hit-or-miss situation of the injection can be mitigated," he said. "I want to play the New Zealand series in the best possible shape. We could have rushed it for the Asia Cup but we are opting against it. I am very hopeful that I will be available for the World Cup."
In that situation, Tamim said, giving up the captaincy was an "unselfish" option. "I think the [captaincy] journey has been fantastic. The results speak for themselves. I told Papon bhai [Hassan] that it would have been very selfish of me if I had stayed on as captain. Whoever knows me, knows that I put the team ahead of myself."
"It is certainly a shock for us," Hassan said of Tamim's decision. "We were not prepared for this decision. We have to now name an ODI captain at least till the World Cup; it won't be for one or two series."
He, however, called for an investigation into the handling of the injury that first affected Tamim in November last year.
"Tamim did his scans in Dhaka, India, Bangkok and London. This is the first time, from London, I saw a report that showed that he has a problem [in his back]. I told him to take Dr Debashish Chowdhury [the BCB's chief medical officer] on a conference call.
"I heard about the injury four or five days ago. I lost my temper when I saw his report. We have to investigate this matter further. I hope this doesn't happen again. There was definitely negligence. This shouldn't have come this far."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84