Tamim Iqbal reverses retirement decision after meeting Bangladesh PM

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Tamim Iqbal has withdrawn his retirement a day after announcing it in emotional circumstances in Chattogram, following an intervention by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Their meeting took place on Friday afternoon at her residence in Dhaka. Tamim, accompanied by his wife, met Hasina alongside former captain Mashrafe Mortaza and BCB president Nazmul Hassan.

The turnaround ultimately came on Friday afternoon but ESPNcricinfo learned of the meeting as early as Thursday evening.

It is understood that Mashrafe, a member of parliament, started the process around that time when he spoke to the prime minister to possibly intervene in this situation. Tamim had, until then, refused to discuss his retirement with Hassan.

Tamim made the retirement announcement on Thursday afternoon. In a live TV broadcast, he broke down several times while delivering a 13-minute monologue about his decision. It captured the airwaves and social media for the rest of the day.

A different Tamim spoke to the media on Friday evening outside the Prime Minister’s residence. He revealed that he had been given a break of six weeks to recuperate from his injuries.

“The honourable Prime Minister invited me to her residence this afternoon,” Tamim said. “We had a long discussion after which she instructed me to return to cricket. I am withdrawing my retirement.

“I can say no to anyone but it is impossible to say no to the most important person in the country. Mashrafe bhai called me while Papon bhai [Hassan] was here. They were big factors [in the reversal]. The Prime Minister has also given me a break of a month and a half. I will complete my treatment and return to playing cricket.”

BCB chief Hassan said he knew a solution was around the corner, and was relieved to have been able to sit with Tamim and convince him to reverse his decision.

“Having seen his press conference [on Thursday], I knew that he was being emotional about his decision,” Hassan said. “I knew that if we could sit face-to-face, I could find a solution.

“We sat with him through the Prime Minister, and he just told you that he is withdrawing the retirement letter.

He is not retired. He has taken a break of six weeks when he will undergo rehab and get ready physically and mentally. He will return to cricket soon.”

Asked if he is relieved, Hassan said: “Of course we are relieved. How can we play without our captain?”

Tamim, who made his retirement announcement a day after leading Bangladesh in the first ODI against Afghanistan, will not feature in the rest of the series. Litton Das has been appointed captain for the remaining matches on July 8 and 11. (ESPNcricinfo)

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