Even during their age-level days, there used to be stiff competition among the two friends over who will score more runs. Both friends often engaged in debate over dismissals and how many balls they faced in their innings, which in turn provided the motivation and urge to get better every day.
The two friends are Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan, and despite both having come a long way since then, that healthy competition remains to this day. Shakib has already made an impact in his new batting position, scoring 37 and 67 in his last two innings, and despite his 182 matches outnumbering Tamim's tally by six games, the ace all-rounder is still 750 runs behind, striking seven hundreds and 36 fifties.
“It will be good if the competition heats up. It's always good if there is healthy competition in the team. If I want to beat him or he wants to beat me, that's always nice. Shakib will get more overs to bat coming in at number three and for this I also have to remember that I have to perform to remain on top. Not only Shakib; Mushfiqur scored a lot of runs and he had a terrific 2017. If you have healthy competition it's always good, be it among batsman or bowlers. Rubel has taken 100 wickets in seven years and now he should target the next hundred in the next three years,” Tamim told reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
According to Tamim it is a new challenge for Shakib to bat at number three, but he was sure that Shakib knows what to do in different situations.
“Normally, Shakib batted at number four or five, where at times he had to bat when Bangladesh were 40 for three or even when 200 for three. But when he bats at number three, it's very crucial as he might be out there batting from the second ball of the innings or he may have to bat after 25 overs. I think he is a smart cricketer but it's too early to comment whether he is perfect in this position or not. What I can say is that he has the ability and he knows what to do,” he said.
There have been many occasions when Tamim, despite scoring runs, did not receive the player-of-the-match award in games where Shakib ended up performing in both departments and snatched the accolade from his friend.
“I have already decided on one thing -- I only believe in rewards, not awards. Look, when everything is going right as an individual and also as a team, you need to take more responsibility,” Tamim added.
The dashing southpaw, who has already scored 11,000 runs across three formats, is 66 runs shy of 6,000 runs in ODIs. Tamim informed that it is important to celebrate achievements and also added that over the next 10 years the new generation of players will set different goals altogether when they represent the country.