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Tamim's natural flair defeats doubts

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Tamim Iqbal

Opener Tamim Iqbal has thrived in the Test arena after being encouraged to "play like I do in the ODIs and enjoy my batting"

Tamim Iqbal is grateful to Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons for giving him licence to play with all his natural flair in Test cricket.

Twenty-one-year-old Tamim admits he doubted himself, wondering whether his instinctive attacking style might need to be modified when he began his Test career.

Yet the left-handed opener has learned he is at his best when he goes with the flow, even in the five-day format - and so have England in the past three months, thanks to Tamim’s five half-centuries in six Test innings against them.

That impressive record culminated in a second-innings hundred at Lord’s last weekend, which put Bangladesh in with a fleeting chance of an unexpected draw.

They faltered on the final day to go 1-0 down, with one match to play in the npower series - starting at Old Trafford on Friday. Tamim, however, remains confident in his and his team’s ability.

“When I started playing Test cricket I was in two minds whether to go slow or go fast - and originally I decided to go slow,” he said, of his 18-match career so far.

“It was not working for me. The first 10 Tests were not good - I think I only got two fifties.

“The coaches said to play like I do in the ODIs and enjoy my batting - ‘We will not say anything to you’.

“I know the way I bat sometimes looks fantastic, sometimes looks ugly - especially if I try to smash the first ball and get caught in the slips - but I am happy with the way I play my natural game.

“If I don’t score, that’s fine with me - because I want to play like this.”

If Tamim frustrates the opposition along the way, it is unlikely to bother him - and neither will he be put off if he encounters any sledging.

“There was some chat (at Lord’s),” he confirmed. “But that was just part of the game - and anyway I like to talk when I am batting. It happens in every match, and I was loving it.”

Tamim Iqbal

Tamim remains optimistic that Bangladesh can bounce back this week, saying "we hope Old Trafford will be better for us"

Tamim is still hoping his exploits in England this summer may help him attract a future county contract.

In the shorter term, though, the challenge is for Bangladesh to build on the resistance they managed when pushing England deep into the final day of the first Test.

They have still won just three of 67 Tests, but Tamim remains optimistic.

“Our main strength in bowling is spin, and there was nothing in the wicket at Lord’s,” he said. “So we hope Old Trafford will be better for us. We have (captain) Shakib (Al Hasan) - who is one of the best in the world - and if he bowls well we can do better.”

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