Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal, named captain of the side for the three-match one-day international series against Sri Lanka, is all geared up for the additional responsibility on his shoulders.
"It was a last-minute call,” Tamim told reporters ahead of the first ODI in Colombo on Friday, 26 July. “I have been given the responsibility, as regular captain Mashrafe [Mortaza] bhai is injured, while vice-captain Shakib [Al Hasan] is not available for personal reasons.
“I have been playing for the national team for over 12 years now, and as the board has given me the responsibility in their absence, I should take that. I am not thinking like 'I am making a debut in captaincy.'”
Tamim was named captain after regular skipper Mashrafe Mortaza was ruled out of the tour with a hamstring injury. All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, the third highest run-scorer in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, opted out due to personal reasons.
In the past, he has filled in as acting skipper in the longest format: Tamim became Bangladesh’s ninth Test captain when he replaced an injured Mushfiqur Rahim in the Christchurch Test in 2017.
Tamim has had time to prepare for the role, given the Bangladesh Cricket Board made the decision last week, but he doesn't have any long-term thoughts on captaincy.
"Mashrafe bhai is still my captain. He is yet to retire from cricket, and after his retirement, there is regular vice-captain Shakib Al Hasan," said Tamim. "The board will decide who will be the next captain of the team. I don't want to say that I would want to do captaincy, or not at the moment. As I have been given the responsibility for these three games, I want to fulfill that by giving my best.
“This time, I knew that I [was] going to lead the side, and had five-six days to think about it. I talked with the players about their roles, and what the team expects from them."
Bangladesh’s World Cup campaign was a mixed bag, but the side showed tremendous promise throughout, especially on the batting front. That said, Tamim doesn't want complacency to be an issue against Sri Lanka, who are ranked lower than Bangladesh in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI rankings.
"I don't like to give someone favourite tag," he said. "They are a good side in their own backyard, while they played some good cricket in the World Cup, especially in the game against England. The same goes with us. We are playing well for the last couple of years, so whoever will execute their plans have a fair chance."
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