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Bangladesh's ODI cricket captain Tamim Iqbal during a press conference announcing his retirement from international cricket in Chittagong on Thursday. July 6, 2023. (Photo by Munir uz ZAMAN / AFP) Image Credit: AFP

Chittagong: Bangladesh’s One-Day International captain Tamim Iqbal on Thursday announced his immediate retirement from all forms of international cricket, a sudden development coming in the middle of a series against Afghanistan.

“Yesterday against Afghanistan was my last international game, I am retiring from international cricket effective right now,” Tamim told reporters.

He broke into tears as he made the announcement, with the press conference broadcast live on national television.

“There was no sudden reason behind this, I was thinking about it for quite some time,” he added. “I was talking about it with my family members for a few days. I thought this was (the) right time for me to decide.”

Tamim’s decision came just two days after he came under heavy criticism for deciding to play against Afghanistan in the first ODI of a three-match series, despite admitting to not being 100 percent fit.

Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hassan led the criticism, calling the player’s professionalism into question.

Tamim scored 13 off 21 balls in a 17-run defeat to a side Bangladesh would be expected to beat.

The 34-year-old batsman scored 8,313 runs in the 241 ODIs he played for Bangladesh, hitting 14 centuries — both run-scoring statistics being the highest by any Bangladeshi batsman.

The veteran left-hander scored 5,134 runs from the 134 innings he played in 70 Tests, scoring 10 hundreds. He retired from Twenty20 internationals in 2022.

‘Fearless batting’

Former Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar led tributes to Tamim.

“One of the greatest batsman Bangladesh ever produced,” he said.

Ashfaque Nipun, one of Bangladesh’s top filmmakers, said: “You will always be remembered for your fearless batting days Tamim Iqbal.”

Tamim is the only Bangladeshi to have scored centuries in all three formats of the game.

The batsman is from a cricketing family in Chittagong - his uncle Akram Khan and elder brother Nafees Iqbal also represented Bangladesh - and established himself as one of the country’s most dependable players.

He burst into international cricket with a powerful six off a stunned Zaheer Khan against India in the 2007 ODI World Cup in the West Indies.

It was only Tamim’s fifth ODI, but the first against any serious opposition, and his 51 against India helped Bangladesh take a five-wicket win.

In 2010, he became the first Bangladeshi to score a century at Lord’s before his four consecutive fifties played a big part in the country’s journey towards their first Asia Cup final in 2012.