Experienced Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal on Thursday said he will not play T20 cricket for the next six months to prolong his career and give youngsters a chance, a decision which rules him out of contention for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. (More Cricket News)
Tamim's decision, however, comes with a rider as he said that he could reconsider the move if the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) asks him again before the World Cup.
Tamim took the decision after discussions with top BCB officials, including president Nazmul Hassan, who tried to convince him from not taking such a step in the best interest of Bangladesh cricket.
"There have been discussions about my T20I future. In the last few days, I have been doing meetings with the BCB president (Nazmul Hassan) and Jalal (Yunus) bhai and Kazi Inam (Ahmed). They wanted me to continue T20Is till the World Cup (this year). I had a different sort of thinking," Tamim told reporters in a press conference in Chattogram.
"I will not be considering T20Is for the next six months. My full focus will be on Tests and ODIs. We are preparing for the World Test Championship and qualification for the 2023 World Cup. I will not be thinking about T20Is in the next six months.
"I hope that those playing will do so well, that the team won't need me in T20Is. But if God forbid the team or cricket board needs me, and I am ready, I will possibly think about it," he added.
Tamim has been mostly out of Bangladesh's T20 team for the past one year with his last appearance being against Zimbabwe in 2020.
Tamim is Bangladesh's third highest run-getter in T20Is, garnering 1758 runs from 78 matches at an average of 24.08 and a strike-rate of 116.96.
In fact, Tamim is Bangladesh's only centurion in the format, having smashed 103 off just 63 balls against Oman in the 2016 T20 World Cup in India.
I won't be needed in T20Is: Tamil Iqbal
While announcing his decision, Tamim insisted that new players should be given a long run in the T20 squad.
"We handed chances to a number of youngsters in the last (T20I) series. We cannot lose hope in them quickly. We have to give them time. I think six months is a good enough time. I am pretty confident that I won't be needed in T20Is. Even then, if the team management or cricket board feels otherwise, I will be open for discussion.
"The team has to go forward. You know my stand ahead of the last T20 World Cup (of giving the young openers more opportunities), so it won't be wise to judge anyone after one or two series. Many of us seniors went through three or four bad series, and then bounced back with maybe three good series on the trot," he said.
"Considering those who will play in my place, I am sure they will find their feet and do well," he added.