WINDIES TOUR OF BANGLADESH, 2018
“I didn’t have any plan in the beginning. Tamim bhai was doing well and scoring many runs every over. I just tried to help him and observe the bowlers.” © Getty
Bangladesh opener Soumya Sarkar credited Tamim Iqbal for his unbeaten century in the one-off practice game against the Rovman Powell-led West Indians ahead of the three-match One-Day International series. Tamim, who returned to competitive cricket after having recovered from a wrist injury that he sustained in the Asia Cup, scored a century himself, while helping Sarkar keep his calm at the crease during their 114-run stand as the duo reached respective centuries in pursuit of 332, that the visitors scored owing to fiftes from Shai Hope and Roston Chase.
“I tried to play the proper way and to stay at the crease till the end,” Sarkar said on Thursday (December 6). “I didn’t have any plan in the beginning. Tamim bhai was doing well and scoring many runs every over. I just tried to help him and observe the bowlers. He gave me useful tips and I batted accordingly.
“Seeing his confidence from the non-striker’s end I felt that if I support him, then scoring runs will be easier. The way Tamim batted after returning from an injury, it didn’t feel like he was out [of the game]. He is always an inspiration to the team. He is in good touch. Maintaining the momentum gets easier for batsmen down the order when he is in the team. He got a very good start. Hopefully, he will be able to offer such starts every time – that will be good for both him and Bangladesh,” Sarkar added.
Tamim had missed the series against Zimbabwe – that Bangladesh won the ODIs 3-0 and drew the two-Test series 1-1 – with the wrist injury and was forced to alter his plan of returning for the two-match Test series against Windies after sustaining a side strain during a practice session ahead of the first Test. He, however, set the tone in the tour game with a quickfire century before being stumped off Chase for a 73-ball 107 that comprised of four sixes and 13 fours.
“It was important for Tamim Iqbal to get some time after coming back from injury,” Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes said. “He looked in the best of form, as though he has not been away from cricket. It is a plus-factor for us. He is a very important part of our ODI setup. Soumya Sarkar was another plus-factor for the team. They also put up a good fight in fading light against a good total from the West Indies.”
Sarkar, who had a forgettable Test series, did well to score an unbeaten 103 from No.3 and put himself back in contention for an opening slot, a position he enjoys most. Rhodes admitted that he faced a bit of a selection headache going into the ODIs and chose to play the cards close to his chest.
“It is going to be tough decisions for the Bangladesh team management [to pick the openers], but what a wonderful position to be in. We are desperate for some depth of cricketers in Bangladesh and we are now showing that we have quite a few. Imrul got 349 runs against Zimbabwe and Tamim has come back to form.
“Liton Das got an 80-odd against Zimbabwe and not too long away, a hundred in the Asia Cup final. Soumya has got a hundred at No 3 and a hundred today. Healthy and a good position to be in. I don’t know the final XI so don’t ask me.”
The first ODI of the three-match series will be played on December 9 in Dhaka.