Monday, May 31, 2010

The Briliant Tamim Iqbal

Tamim Iqbal had his name engraved on the Honours Board at Lords yesterday, following a fearless display of batting, which saw him notch-up his third test match century. After Bangladesh were forced to follow on, Tamim displayed the class of a good test match batsman in keeping his wicket intact until the luncheon interval, before cutting loose in the second session with strokes of astounding audacity.

Balls off a good length or longer were thrillingly driven and anything short was pulled, mostly in front of square, with disdain. Tamim’s one-legged pull shots were in Michael Atherton’s words, reminiscent of Gordon Greenidge, of whose intrepid batting style, I have heard enough about, if not witnessed, to recognise the high praise in the former English captain’s remarks. Not to be left behind, the drives on the offside were also executed in a distinctly stylish manner. Tamim has a tendency to stand tall and punch the ball through the covers as opposed to leaning into his drives, which may not be textbook perfect, but are certainly eye-catching.

After having seen off the seamers with unwavering ease, Tamim met England’s spinner, Greame Swann, with particular derision. Swann’s first over after lunch featured two slog sweeps, hit against the turn, over the midwicket boundary for a six each and a fierce cover drive for four. Medium pacer, Tim Bresnan, who had come under the cosh from Tamim in the first innings, when the latter had compiled a fine half-century, was once again the victim of a brutal assault. The 35th over of the Bangladeshi innings, bowled by Bresnan, saw Tamim go from 87 to 101 in the space of the first four deliveries. Drives to the cover and mid-off boundaries were followed by a couple to midwicket and a bold stroke over mid-on that brought up his century off only 94 balls, the fastest at Lords since Mohammad Azharuddin blazed to an 87 ball ton in 1990.

The celebration upon reaching the century wasn’t bad either. A signal to the dressing room, indicating that his name will be up on the Honours Board, may have smacked of arrogance for some, but it clearly showed the young man’s delight at reaching the landmark. Bangladesh haven’t yet done enough to suggest that they deserve the test status that was bestowed upon them a decade ago, but they do possess a group of talented youngsters, led by the enterprising Tamim Iqbal, who could well, be on their way to stardom.

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