Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal rejected rumours Wednesday that he quit English county cricket club Essex because of a hate crime targeting his family and said it was down to personal reasons. The 28-year-old opening batsman cut ties with Essex after just one match, but dismissed suggestions his sudden departure was because of an alleged attack against his wife and son.
“Some media reported that we were the target of attempted hate crime. This is really not true,” the Bangladesh vice-captain posted on his Facebook page. “England is one my of favourite places to play cricket and Essex have been entirely gracious even though I had to leave early.”
However an official from the Bangladesh Cricket Board said the decision followed an incident in London where Tamim, his wife Ayesha Siddiqa and one-year-old son were harassed while out for dinner. “We suspect they were chased because Tamim’s wife wears a hijab. Hopefully we’ll know the details once he returns from England today,” said the cricket official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Bangladesh’s top-read English newspaper The Daily Star quoted a source as saying the alleged attackers even attempted to throw acid at Tamim’s wife. The official could not confirm whether Tamim reported the matter to police.
BCB chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury and Tamim’s elder brother Nafees Iqbal, who also played Test cricket for Bangladesh, refused to comment on what they termed a “personal” matter.
Essex announced Tuesday that Tamim quit the club after playing in Essex’s seven-wicket loss to Kent in a Twenty20 match last week. “Essex County Cricket Club can confirm that overseas player, Tamim Iqbal, has left the club with immediate effect due to personal reasons,” a statement said.
Tamim, Bangladesh’s highest international run scorer in all forms of the game, signed only last week for an eight-game stint in England’s T20 Blast competition. Tamim starred with the bat for Bangladesh in the recent Champions Trophy, scoring a century against England, narrowly missing another against Australia and hitting 70 in the semi-final against India.