It’s not a healthy dressing room’ – BCB president says Shakib Al Hasan-Tamim Iqbal rift not easy to settle

Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan has confirmed an ongoing rift between senior players Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan within the Bangladesh camp, revealing that “it is not a healthy dressing room” and that it’s “not easy to settle the issues” between the two.

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Shakib and Tamim have been two of the most celebrated careers in Bangladesh cricket, but have also been at the receiving end of rumours about an underlying rift with each other. Both players have led the side at different points and different formats in their careers: Tamim retired from T20Is last year, but will captain the side in the ODIs against England. Shakib is the Test and T20I skipper.

Speaking to Cricbuzz, Nazmul Hasan opened up about the touched upon the dynamic between the two players, ahead of the upcoming home series against England, especially with the return of Chandika Hathurusingha as head coach.

This is not a healthy dressing room, this I can guarantee you,” Nazmul said. “This thing [rift between Shakib and Tamim], it’s not that I have not tried to sort it out. I have spoken with both of them and I felt that it is not easy to settle the issues [between the two] at the moment. This is my observation.”

“Both of them have been given one message – we don’t know what is going on between you, but during a game or series that you are playing, these differences cannot come out. Both of them assured that it won’t be there during the game.”

Nazmul also indicated at a grouping system within the Bangladesh camp, with players creating factions inside the setup and segregating themselves based on it. The BCB chief said that it’s a recent problem, but that could hinder the side’s growth if not handled soon.

The biggest problem for Bangladesh cricket at the moment is this grouping and that is the reality,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with anything else. I am only scared about this grouping and I only came to know about it in recent times. Even in the World Cup, what I have seen and heard despite not staying in their hotel… I cannot believe how it is possible. We have to put an end to it if we want to see a good future because one thing everyone needs to understand is that there is no scope for grouping.”

When asked about Shakib and Tamim again, and how two seniors, who are not on “talking terms”, could help in such a situation, Nazmul said that the two will have to find a way to communicate while being part of the same team.

“They [Shakib & Tamim] have to talk on the field and in the dressing room as well. The atmosphere of the dressing room was bad too but it improved a bit. From this series [against England] I want to change it [their equation] in the dressing room at least. What they do outside is not a concern for me.”

England and Bangladesh are set to face each other in a bilateral ODI series for the first time since 2009/10, but the news dominating the headlines since the past few days involves two of Bangladesh’s biggest stars in Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, and their cold relationship with each other on a personal front.

While speculations regarding their alleged rift had been a topic for some months now, the Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan, during an interaction with Cricbuzz a couple of days ago decided to finally uncover the lid on the issue and spill the beans.

Hasan not only confirmed that the duo have not been in good terms with each other for quite some time now, but also mentioned how he had tried on a personal level to sort out the differences between the two, but to no avail.

This is not a healthy dressing room, this I can guarantee you. This thing (rift between Shakib and Tamim), it’s not that I have not tried to sort it out. I have spoken with both of them and I felt that it is not easy to settle the issues (between them) at the moment. This is my observation,” remarked Hasan.

Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan fight

As per Bangladeshi media reports, the alleged rift between the two is not a novel development, but has been an open secret within the Bangladesh team dressing room for around a year-and-a-half.

While the exact reason for their differences is unknown, the BCB did intervene to address the matter a few months ago, and it has been learnt that Tamim was keen to make amends. However, there was no interest shown on Shakib’s end, despite the management making it very clear that the entire dressing room is getting negatively affected as a result of their cold war.

“We feel scared all the time. We fear that one of the seniors might take offence if he sees us speaking with the other senior. If I go out to eat with one, the other might not like it,” remarked one of the Bangladesh team players to a local media on the condition of anonymity.

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