Iqbal’s goal in this year’s IPL is to simply score as many runs as possible
The Pune Warriors have announced that they will be re-signing Australia all-rounder Steven Smith and Bangladesh opening batsman Tamim Iqbal for this year’s edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is scheduled to get underway on April 3.
Both Iqbal and Smith were signed on as injury replacements last season after going unsold in the auction, but were released in November of last year as well.
However, since franchises have the opportunity of re-signing injury replacements, the Warriors did not hesitate to add the two excellent big-hitters to their roster.
Iqbal will be playing in his second IPL season and hopes to make the starting XI this year after not even playing a single game last year.
“I signed the contract before I went to play in New Zealand [in early December],” Iqbal told ESPNcricinfo. “It is a one-year contract because there is the players’ auction coming up next year.”
Iqbal was signed in March last year by the Warriors and did not get a chance to play, even though he was available for two games.
The Bangladesh opening batsman branded his first IPL season as an educational experience, but noted that this year, it will be all about scoring as many runs as possible.
“I am more determined to perform this year,” he said. “Last time when I had returned home, people didn’t ask me how I was. They asked me why I didn’t get a game.
“This time I think I will have more opportunity to play because the franchise has released a lot of players. All I want to do now is make runs in the IPL, it will enhance my reputation in Twenty20s.”
Despite not playing in the IPL last season, Iqbal went on to represent the Wayamba Wolves in the inaugural edition of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL), where he averaged 38 in six matches.
He also travelled to New Zealand to play for Wellington in a domestic Twenty20 tournament and had a similar average in the same number of games.
Smith on the other hand, represented the Pune Warriors 15 times last season and scored 362 runs at an average of 40.22, but barely got an opportunity to bowl.
Smith was also part of the Sydney Sixers squad that was victorious in the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) in South Africa last year, where he scored 95 runs in four innings, while in this year’s Big Bash League (BBL) he had a more prosperous time, making 169 runs in six matches.