Bangladesh opening batter Tamim Iqbal has decided to take a six-month break from T20 internationals. The left-handed batter announced this on Thursday in a press conference at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium (ZACS) in Chattogram.
"I am not considering a comeback to T20I cricket for the next six months. My focus during this period will be on Tests and ODIs," Tamim told the media.
"I have made the best possible decision after consulting everyone [in the board]. I will not play in T20Is for the next six months. We have the World Test Championship (WTC) and the 2023 ICC World Cup ahead. So I want to focus on these two formats for now," he added.
Tamim said that he would be available for selection after those six months and if the selectors couldn't find a suitable pair during this period, Tamim would be ready to return to T20Is.
"I hope that the youngsters will play so well during this period that I won't be needed anymore. But I will be open for discussion after six months if the board thinks that the team needs me. But I won't think about T20Is in the next six months," Tamim mentioned.
Tamim has been away from T20Is for two years now with his last appearance in this format being in 9 March, 2020 against Zimbabwe. The southpaw missed the subsequent T20I series at home and away as well as the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup for different reasons.
There has been a lot of speculation regarding Tamim's availability in this format and multiple reports in local media suggested that the batter would not return to this format.
After missing the T20I series against New Zealand in New Zealand last year, Tamim returned home after playing the ODI series, skipping the three-match T20I series because of a pain in his right knee.
Tamim was ruled out of the home series against Australia and New Zealand because of that injury. The opening batter was away from T20Is for about six months and by that time, Bangladesh had played 16 T20Is without him.
Then came a statement. Tamim opted himself out of the T20 World Cup, saying that it would be unfair on the youngsters if he took one of the opening positions after missing so many matches.
Tamim then went to Nepal to play in the Everest Premier League (EPL) as part of the rehabilitation process. But there he sustained a new injury that kept him away from competitive cricket for a while. He made a comeback through the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) where he started off with two consecutive fifties.
The issue took a new turn when the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan Papon, less than a week before, said that Tamim did not want to play T20Is anymore.
"Last time when I talked to him over the telephone, I told him to get back to T20I cricket. I said that you are our best opener so why would you quit this format? You must play. He just told me one thing. 'Please don't force me. If you force me, I have to play. But I really don't want to play this format," Papon said on 22 January.