Faced with Suranga Lakmal steaming in, and with a heavily strapped injured left hand behind his back leg, Tamim Iqbal felt only one thing on Saturday.
“I felt very brave in those ten seconds when the bowler was running in,” Tamim told ESPNcricinfo. “I was very pumped up after hearing the roar in the stadium. I could have got out or anything else may have happened, but in that moment, I was very, very committed to the team and nation.
“It was quite risky now that I think about it. My injured hand was behind me but when I played the ball, you’d notice that the hand had come in front. If I had missed the ball, it would have hit my hand.”
Emotions were running high from the moment Tamim returned to the Dubai International Cricket Stadium from the hospital where he had gone after being struck on the hand – by Lakmal – in the second over. Scans revealed a fractured wrist, which usually takes six weeks to heal fully. On the field Bangladesh had recovered somewhat from a disastrous start.
Sensing every run would be vital in the Asia Cup opener against Sri Lanka, captain Mashrafe Mortaza put forth the plan in the dressing room. “I thought Mashrafe bhai was joking when he said I should go out to bat. The initial decision was for me to go to bat in the last over, if I am off strike. I would just have to stand there,” said Tamim.
As it turned out, Bangladesh lost Mahmudullah, Mashrafe and then Mehidy Hasan. As Tamim had to get ready, there were moments of comedy in the dressing room.
“I started padding up when Rubel [Hossain] was at the crease. Mashrafe bhai cut open my gloves. For the first time in my life, someone had to put on my abdomen guard,” Tamim laughed. “Mominul [Haque] and the others helped me put on my pads. My bandage got meshed with another glove. Everyone was helping me.”
“I was very pumped up after hearing the roar in the stadium. I could have got out or anything else may have happened, but in that moment, I was very, very committed to the team and nation.”
When Mustafizur Rahman, the designated No.11, fell, there was one ball left in the 47th over with Mushfiqur Rahim, batting on 112, at the non-striker’s end. The initial plan changed. Tamim decided that he would face the last ball of the over.
“When the moment arrived, it was still undecided what was going to happen. I didn’t think of anything. I just walked out. The moment Mustafizur got out I didn’t have a second thought. I was asked if I was sure of doing this. I said I was quite sure,” he said.
Tamim felt that even if 10 runs could be added because of him, it was worth the risk. That Mushfiqur would blast 32 runs till he got out in the last over wasn’t expected.
“I had a lot of high hopes with the Asia Cup and I was overcome with emotions at that moment,” he said. “I felt that if by playing this one ball the team can get 5 or 10 runs, it’d help the team. I thought that if I had to play one ball, then why not?
“Nobody expected that I’d play that one ball and 32 runs will come from the other end. Mushfiqur batted in an extraordinary manner.”
When he was in the process of walking out with his bandaged hand to help out Mushfiqur and Bangladesh, Tamim didn’t know what kind of reaction he would get, and it wasn’t even playing on his mind.
“I don’t think I have experienced such a thing in my life,” he said. “I can see all the reactions [now], but when I was going out to bat or facing that delivery, I didn’t think of what might happen afterwards. I just went there for the team and country.”
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Cricket Board said on Sunday that they would wait for a second scan before taking any decision on a replacement for Tamim.