When Tamim Iqbal tapped Shakib Al Hasan’s gloves upon his entry, the full-house crowd roared in delight. Bangladesh were 9 for 3 in the second over. Their defense of a proud home record was going up in smoke.
This was the 72nd time that Shakib and Tamim were batting together in an international, but the first time since BCB president Nazmul Hassan broke the news last week that the two senior Bangladesh cricketers don’t talk to each other.
So obviously the tap of the gloves, or the time Tamim took a catch off Shakib’s bowling in the first ODI, or the times they spoke in the field generally as two team-mates do - they all drew a lot of attention. Some of those moments have become memes already. But they were tepid, not really viral material.
Because really this is a bit of a non-issue. It grabbed headlines last week because the BCB president spoke in detail about Shakib and Tamim not talking to each other for a few years.
Hassan called the row an open secret, but one that bothered the other players. He said Bangladesh’s dressing room was uncomfortable.
In a very leaky inner circle, these incidents, rumours, half-truths come out quite often. Never, though, has the public heard about a Shakib-Tamim fight, or anything remotely close to it. Their fallout was indeed an open secret to those close to the game, but ESPNcricinfo understands that this has been going on for so long that not many are aware when it even began.
Some believe that Tamim and Shakib never really had a flash point; they simply drifted apart. They don’t hang out in the same circles now but there was a time when they were friends. Shakib had written an entire ProthomAlo column on Tamim in 2010.
Tamim’s measured press conference on the subject drew him a lot of praise. He said that he could have avoided it by saying “no comment” but needed to make things clear to the public and fans.
Tamim and Shakib couldn’t quite save Bangladesh in the second game. They added 79 runs for the fourth wicket, but the 327 chase needed them to stay for longer.
By losing the second game against England, Bangladesh lost their first ODI series at home in seven years. England are a great white-ball team with plenty of firepower, even in subcontinent conditions. But one wonders whether Bangladesh were better off without the Shakib-Tamim topic being brought up just two days before this big series.