Tamim Iqbal watched most of the 2017 BPL final from the Mirpur press box. It was the day after the Comilla Victorians had lost to the Rangpur Riders in a controversial second qualifier which had to go into a second day due to rain and confusion with the tournament rules.
Tamim was left wondering when he would play in the BPL final and emulate some of his celebrated contemporaries. That wish has come true this season, with the Victorians reaching the final after beating the Riders in the first qualifier.
"I haven't done all that bad, despite scoring three ducks in this tournament," Tamim told ESPNcricinfo. "But considering my expectations, I think I could have done a lot better. I should have scored at least 400 runs by now. I have failed to take off from good starts.
"Mashrafe [Mortaza] bhai has won the BPL four times, Shakib [Al Hasan] twice and Riyad [Mahmudullah] bhai has played the final on two occasions. Like them, I have always wanted to play in the final of the biggest domestic tournament in Bangladesh."
It's finally happening for Tamim, after multiple seasons of disappointment, both on and off the field.
In the inaugural edition, a groin injury only allowed him to play two matches. Months after the tournament was over, Tamim revealed that he had not been paid by the Chittagong Kings. He also divulged details of a bust-up with Kings' technical director Dean Jones who denied abusing him verbally.
In the 2013 edition, Tamim made three fifties for Duronto Rajshahi, another franchise where players endured payment delays. So much so, that before their game against Khulna Royal Bengals, Tamim was about to lead out a side without any overseas players - they were all protesting the delayed payments. A last-minute deal was struck between the players and BCB officials, which avoided any further embarrassment.
Tamim Iqbal and Tillakaratne Dilshan have a chat with the umpire Daily Kaler Kantho
In 2015, Tamim got tangled in another mess at another franchise. As he walked out to bat for Chittagong Vikings, Tamim noticed that Josh Cobb and Ravi Bopara, whose names hadn't been part of the team sheet at the toss, had taken the field for Sylhet Superstars. He pointed it out to the umpires and went back to the dressing room with opening partner Tillakaratne Dilshan. This was after the toss had been delayed, since the NOCs of Cobb and Bopara hadn't arrived on time. Their names hadn't been part of the Vikings team sheet distributed to broadcasters and the press box either.
Tamim pointed out the two players who had, technically, taken the field illegally. In the argument that played out near the boundary line, BCB officials tried to convince Tamim to let Sylhet play with Cobb and Bopara. In the argument that followed, the Sylhet franchise owner, Tamim alleged, abused him, and "said something very unpleasant about my family".
The following season, 2016, was an excellent one for Tamim personally, as he topped the run charts with 476 runs at an average of 43.27, but his team, the Vikings, went out in the Eliminator.
Off-field controversy returned in 2017, when Tamim called the Mirpur pitches "horrible" after they kept producing low-scoring totals even after the venue took a 10-day break. The BCB took exception to Tamim's expression of frustration, although other players including Mashrafe had made similar comments. In the following days he would face an inquiry for his outburst in the media.
Compared to all that, this season has been a time of peace and quiet for Tamim in the BPL. He has stayed away from captaincy in the Vikings setup and, although he is heavily involved in planning, prefers being surrounded by cricket rather than anything else. And if he can get his hands on the trophy, he can finally put behind him his fractious history with the tournament.