While the debate over the unfavourable pitches at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur has continued, Comilla Victorians coach Mohammad Salahuddin threw a challenge to captain Tamim Iqbal ahead of today's first qualifier of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) against Shakib Al Hasan's Dhaka Dynamites.
“Tamim has the ability to play much better cricket on this kind of wicket. Tamim played a good innings previously on this kind of surface; he helped Bangladesh win two Tests. I expect he will show how good his level of skill is by playing a good knock on this surface,” answered Salahuddin when asked yesterday whether the show-cause notice has fired Tamim up.
If one is looking over the paradigm shift in Tamim Iqbal's batting, it is impossible to overlook his batsmanship during the home series against England  and Australia  in trying conditions and that was what Salahuddin was referring to: the left-hander's 104 and 40 against England in the Dhaka Test that Bangladesh won by 108 runs and his 71 and 78 against Australia this year in a Dhaka Test that Bangladesh won by 20 runs. Bangladesh might have lost the Chittagong Test against England but Tamim's 78-run knock in the first innings is still considered one of the best knocks from any Bangladesh batsman.
And if it seems strange to talk about Test cricket during a T20 tournament, it should be remembered that a good batsman is good in all formats and Tamim has already showed his calibre in the ongoing BPL since coming into the fray after recovering from injury. Table-toppers Comilla however already proved that they were not dependent on one man; they have a good unit under the bright leadership of Tamim and Salahuddin said that they were not thinking about a second chance; instead they will take the field to directly qualify for the final.
But it will not be easy because Dhaka has also got an inspirational captain in Shakib who can change the fate of a match, and it will not much matter on the day that they go into the match with two defeats against Comilla.
“In this format, the most important thing is to seize the momentum at the right time and in that regard we won a very good match against Rangpur Riders [on Wednesday]. Shakib led from the front. Tomorrow is a crucial game and I am waiting for a fantastic match,” said Dynamites coach Khaled Mahmud.
“We will play as underdogs because we lost both matches against Comilla, who have been playing fantastic cricket. We are also playing good cricket but we have lacked consistency,” he added.
The two coaches had different opinions about the much-debated pitch as Mahmud, also a BCB director, unlike Salahuddin believed that the pitches were not that bad but echoed his counterpart's expectation of a better wicket for this match.