Will Tamim Iqbal play today?
This has been the main question surrounding the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), especially during the tournament's Chittagong leg. The absence of the dashing left-hander since his side Chittagong Kings' first game was initially attributed to a groin injury. But after his last moment deletion from Saturday's player list against Duronto Rajshahi, people started to suspect that there was something wrong in the team management.
Many believe Tamim's rift with the technical director Dean Jones was the main reason behind his absence.
True, Tamim pulled out of the playing eleven at the last moment but it was not because of pain in his groin; it was rather a dispute about the batting order with the Australian. Tamim was not ready to play at the No 3 position and he was also furious at the behaviour of the former Australian batsman. It all started before the second match after which the relationship between Jones and Tamim deteriorated steadily to reach a bitter state before Saturday's match, said a close source of Chittagong Kings.
Because of Jones's rigid stance the fans are not only missing the opener's flamboyant batting, the franchise is also missing the service of their icon player, added the source preferring not to be named.
Sameer Quader Chowdhury, the CEO of the Chittagong Kings, however said that there is a good chance that Tamim will play today's match.
"We desperately want to see Tamim playing the match and he will play tomorrow's (Monday) match if he is fit," informed Sameer when asked about Tamim's chances of featuring in today's match. Later in an official statement the Chittagong Kings management said: "His services will be more crucial for Chittagong Kings in the knockout stage and until then he has been rested by the team management."
Sameer however denied the rift between the player and technical director as the reason behind the absence, but later added: "There can be differences between a player and a coach and it's not abnormal. Each coach has his own method."
Sameer however informed that Jones will no more be with the team as he will leave this afternoon but he denied the notion that the management are packing off the Australian because of the rift.
"He is leaving in keeping with an earlier arrangement. He has some commitment with an Indian TV channel about which he informed us earlier. But right at this moment we have no plan to appoint someone in his place, rather we want to go on with our current setup," explained Sameer.
The player himself also said that he was not fit to take part in the tournament since the first game.
"Right now what I can say is that the groin injury was the reason behind my absence. I will play once I feel that I am fit enough. I'm not ready to take any risks because to me the national duty is more important than anything else. We have an Asia Cup next month and I want to play for my country then," said Tamim.
"I'm going through unbearable pain because for any player it is hard to sit in the dressing room for long and that was the reason I started to cry when I had to pull out my name at the last moment yesterday. I hope everything will be okay within a short time," added the dejected national opener.
In the end, it seems that everything will depend on whether Tamim wants to play or not.
"I can assure you he can play if he wants," said head coach Khaled Mahmud.