'Would have reached the World Cup semis if the team supported Shakib' – Tamim Iqbal
Tamim Iqbal has admitted his shortcomings with the bat during the World Cup contributed to Bangladesh's failure to advance to the semi-finals despite Shakib Al Hasan's stellar all-round display.
Tamim, who endured a torrid run in the 50-over showpiece event as he averaged a meagre 29.37 in eight matches with a single fifty, claimed it was his inability to stay at the crease for longer periods of time that did not offer much support to Shakib on the other end.
Shakib had a dream run throughout the tournament managing to amass 606 runs including two centuries at a highly impressive average of 86.57. He also scalped 11 wickets across eight innings but his herculean efforts could not overturn Bangladesh's fortunes. Having made a strong start to the competition, Mashrafe Mortaza's men lacked the requisite consistency to secure a berth in the final four.
A twist of fate for Shakib since the World Cup heroics has condemned him to a two-year suspension (12 months backdated) from the game for not reporting corrupt approaches immediately.
Reminiscing the role Shakib played in Bangladesh's journey in the tournament, Mashrafe related how the veteran's eagerness to bat in the top-order led to his promotion.
"When Shakib wanted to bat at number three [in the World Cup], I backed him fully because I knew he could make a full impact from that position," Mashrafe told Tamim in a live chat session.
"Ultimately, as a team could not utilise his impact. Maybe I didn't play well," he added as quoted by Daily Star.
Mashrafe, like Tamim, fared poorly at the World Cup and picked up a solitary wicket in eight games. His incisive swing with the ball eluded him during the competition, forcing him to leak runs profusely. Nevertheless, Mashrafe received a grand farewell from international cricket after leading his side to victory over Zimbabwe earlier this year.
"If you and I could have played 25% better, I think we would have been in the semis," Tamim said in response to Mashrafe's remark.
"I am saying this because of our positions," he continued. "You have a knack for taking early wickets and you could not do that in the World Cup, which became a big problem."
"And for my part, I could not build those big partnerships with Shakib coming in at number three. If those things happened, I believe we would have made the semi-finals."