In the bid to revive cricket in Chittagong, Tamim Iqbal has announced that he will organise age-group tournaments in the region for the next three years. He is one of the last international cricketers to hail from the south-eastern division that was once considered the second-most important cricket hub in Bangladesh.
Tamim said that the lack of quality among Chittagong players was directly related to the lack of competitive tournaments in the city and region. He will become the second cricketer from Chittagong to take steps to give back to the game after former Bangladesh batsman Aftab Ahmed started coaching and received a good response.
Tamim said he will take assistance from local coaches like Nurul Abedin to organise the different age groups. The tournaments will bear the name of his late father Iqbal Khan, who was a footballer and coach, and was instrumental in the rise of his brother Akram Khan, the former Bangladesh captain, and Tamim’s elder brother Nafees Iqbal.
“Chittagong isn’t producing many cricketers,” Tamim said. “I think tournaments are not properly held. So I want to organise three age-group tournaments each year for the next three years, in the name of my father. It will be at the U-13, U-15 and U-17 levels.”
Tamim hoped the tournaments would pave the way for the future generation of cricketers from his home city to graduate to the national level. Currently, the Chittagong divisional cricket team is third among the four Tier-2 teams in the National Cricket League.
“When the likes of Akram uncle and Nannu uncle used to play, Chittagong had big tournaments like Star Jubo or Star Summer,” Tamim said. “Many players from across the country used to play in these competitions but these days although the leagues are going on, these tournaments aren’t taking place. If age-group tournaments can be organised, many players will represent Chittagong at the national level in the future.”
After Tamim Iqbal, Nazimuddin was the only cricketer from Chittagong to have played for Bangladesh.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.