National stalwart Tamim Iqbal on Sunday said that he never even thought of scoring a triple hundred and claimed that his unbeaten innings of 334 runs would always hold a special place in his heart.
‘Of course, this is a special feeling. To be honest, I never thought of scoring triple hundred. Everyone has a dream but I never thought that it will happen in this match,’ Tamim told reporters in Mirpur after his innings.
‘This is a special innings. Scoring 300 is always difficult against any opposition at any level. If it was easy, you would see someone scoring 300 every month. This is really special and it will surely hold a special place in my heart,’ he added.
Tamim became only the second Bangladeshi to score a triple hundred in first-class cricket after he smashed unbeaten 334 runs for Islami Bank East Zone against Walton Central Zone on the third day of the Bangladesh Cricket League opening round match in Mirpur.
Tamim, unbeaten on 222 overnight, took a single off Shuvagata Hom in the 135th over of the innings to complete his triple hundred, joining Roqibul Hasan as the second Bangladeshi to achieve the feat.
He soon overtook Roqibul’s 313 runs, again with a single off Shuvagata and then struck three sixes in successive overs before East Zone declared their first innings on 555-2, replying to opponents’ 213.
Tamim’s unbeaten innings is also the highest first-class innings score on Bangladesh soil, overtaking Kumar Sangakkara’s 319 runs against Bangladesh in a Test match in Chattogram.
Tamim said that he was trying to play his normal game and wasn’t thinking about his triple hundred, claiming to eye the feat only after crossing the 280-run mark.
‘Actually I was very determined. The wicket was very good. There was no spin and the wicket didn’t behave differently. I think I was able to keep things normal,’ said Tamim.
‘When I completed 260-270, to be honest I was not worrying about 300. I started to think about it when I made 280. I was feeling that if I concentrated too much on it, my batting could have been hampered. I just tried to play normal and the result was positive,’ he said.
Tamim had the opportunity to further his innings and try becoming first Bangladeshi to score 400 in a first-class match, but his team declared the innings, depriving him of the chance.
Tamim, however, remained respectful to his team’s call, terming it the right decision.
‘Actually whether you hit 300 or 400, it doesn’t matter if your side doesn’t win the match. I think we made a right decision [declaration]. They lost three wickets but the wicket is still good. We have to work hard to take their remaining seven wickets,’ he said.
Tamim was given a guard of honour by his team-mates as he was returning to the dressing-room after the declaration and the Bangladesh Cricket Board also arranged a small ceremony to celebrate his knock, which was attended by a number of board officials and players from both teams.
Tamim jointly cut a cake with his former under-19 team-mate and the only other Bangladeshi triple-hundred scorer Roqibul during the short programme.
‘We played Under-19 together. We started playing together from Under-17. He is one of my best friends. I am really feeling happy. The way he played he deserved it,’ Roqibul said.
BCB cricket operations chief Akram Khan, who is also Tamim’s paternal uncle, was ecstatic at Tamim’s record breaking knock, saying that it was a proud moment for their family.
‘It is a very proud moment for us, especially for our family. I am very proud of him,’ Akram said.