A BATTING WITH BIMAL BREAKING REPORT: We will get better and better if we keep playing more Test matches, says Tamim Iqbal

Iqbal is growing tired of his century drought

Bangladesh opening batsman Tamim Iqbal has announced that the national team can only get better if they continue playing more and more Test matches against strong opposition.

After losing their 2-0 in their two-Test series against the West Indies, Bangladesh will now be looking to upset Sri Lanka in March and are expected to defeat Zimbabwe with no real problems in April.

Bangladesh played their lowest number of Test matches in 2012 since their admission into international cricket and Iqbal noted that the diminishing number of games the national team are playing is resulting in their poor performances.

Bangladesh’s first Test against the West Indies, where they lost by 77 runs, was their first Test match in 11 months and Iqbal is starting to get extremely frustrated with the widening gaps between each series.

“If you don’t play enough Tests, you wouldn’t have an idea of how to play the game properly,” Iqbal said. “Test cricket is all about habits and the more we will play, the more we will improve.

“We talk of improvement but the fact is, we have never taken a Test against a better opponent into the fifth day. It is the same as scoring a hundred: if you haven’t made one you wouldn’t know how it’s done.

“Bangladesh were on top for the first four days of the Dhaka Test. We lost it in the final session of the game but we were playing after almost a year. I’m not making excuses for that defeat though. We should have drawn or won that game.”

Despite losing the Test series and one-off Twenty20 International to the West Indies, Iqbal believes the national team put their full effort into the 3-2 win in the ODI series.

“It was our best series,” Iqbal said. “We were competitive in the Tests, we won the ODI series and we lost in the T20 after playing our best game.

“It was a very positive series for us.”

While Iqbal and his team-mates celebrate their ODI triumph over the West Indies, he warned that the aim after losing in two out of three formats was to learn from their mistakes.

“Our biggest gain has been the self-belief among the players, which is very important for a team like ours,” Iqbal added. “We didn’t have Shakib [Al Hasan, who was injured], which was a big blow for us. I didn’t perform in the ODIs. But our team won because the captain, vice-captain and the younger players doing well.

“We have a lot to improve on though. It doesn’t mean we have learned everything by just winning the ODI series. We have a lot of areas to improve on, especially the small things. Our success rate will go up if we stop making those small mistakes.”

Iqbal was notably disappointed about not scoring a century for yet another year, with his last coming in June 2010.

Since his last century, Iqbal has managed to make 17 half-centuries, but has failed to convert any of those scores into triple figures.

“I dream of scoring a hundred every day, but I get out through my fault 75% of the time,” Iqbal admitted. “I am very disappointed because 50s are not counted at the world level [when identifying] big players.

“I have to take myself to the next level, by scoring more hundreds. This is one area where I can improve, though I have to learn it on my own. I have to find out where I am going wrong.

“In the meantime, I have spoken to great cricketers at home and abroad, asked them what I can do after scoring a 50 … I spoke to [India batsman] Wasim Jaffer a few months ago, about scoring hundreds.”

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