Consistent Tamim stakes claim as one of the best openers in the world

Publish: 9:20 PM, May 9, 2019 | Update: 9:20:PM, May 9, 2019

DHAKA,   – There is no denying fact that the start of Tamim Iqbal up in the batting order has been key in Bangladesh’s success over the years and by doing so, the opener bracketed him amongst the top openers of the world as far as the batting average is concerned.

In the last 28 matches, starting from 2017 to till date, he played 28 matches and scored 1420 runs at a staggering average of 57. In 2017 and 2018, Tamim’s ODI batting average was 64.60 and 85.50 respectively. This year however in four matches so far, his batting average was a meager 22.50. This was largely because of his poor return in New Zealand in which he made just 10 runs in three matches.

He however amended that poor performance with a match-winning 80 runs against West Indies in Bangladesh’s tri-series opener in Ireland.

In the year 2018, he was the best ODI opener as far as his batting average is concerned. Amongst the openers, his 85.50 was best and it could have been easily the best amongst all batsmen had Virat Kohli and Ross Taylor didn’t possess unreal average. Virat Kohli averaged more than 133 that year while Taylor averaged 91. Both Kohli and Taylor are not openers by default however.

The way Tamim’s consistency up in the batting order gave Bangladesh a solidity, it made him gradually the best ever opener in the world. His last two and half years performance clearly indicated that he sat with the openers like Rohit Sharma, David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Johny Bairstow who all averaged more than 50.

The one spot of bother in Tamim’s batting is his strike rate. While the other openers had strike rate over 100, according to the demand of modern cricket, Tamim’s strike rate was below 80. But he shouldn’t be blamed entirely for it.

He even didn’t get a regular opener around him as of now. The team management tested at least six openers in the last five years alongside him but none of them could cement their place as a partner of Tamim. Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das of late showed a glimmer of hope to solve the problem though.

So thinking his partner’s struggle at the other end, according to the advice of team management, Tamim turned out to be holder from the enforcer in a bid to keep his wicket intact. But his audacious batting earned him the fame at the outset of his career.

Bangladesh’s middle order largely banked on Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad. If the trio failed to deliver, Bangladesh used to fall like a pack of cards. So to give the middle order reliability and pave a well platform for the trio, Tamim needs to keep him wicket intact.

“Tamim’s start is always important in our success,” Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza says it time and again, underlining the importance of Tamim’s start.

“If he gives the side a good start, the middle order can cash in on it and take the side a position of dominance. So Tamim needs to keep his wicket and curb his aggression to pave the platform.”

Therefore Tamim had to sacrifice his strike rate but the sacrifice bolstered his average and bracketed him amongst the best openers of the world.