ICC U-19 World Cup 2020 title heralds the beginning of a new era in Bangladesh cricket
- A new generation of talented young cricketers are ready to take Bangladesh cricket to greater heights.
The title of the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2020, which Bangladesh won under the leadership of Akbar Ali, certainly heralds the beginning of a new era for Bangladesh cricket. For most of their cricketing history, Bangladeshi cricketers have been considered minnows.
The senior national team of this Asian nation has somehow managed to shed the tag of minnows in the past few years, at least in limited-overs cricket. Even then somehow the Tigers are not yet a force to reckon with when it comes to major ICC tournaments.
One cannot deny that winning the Under-19 World Cup is itself a huge milestone and can help break the shackles as far as making winning a habit is concerned. Particularly, when it comes to the highest level of cricket.
A solid foundation has been laid
It may be a little too early to draw such conclusions as playing at the senior international level is a different ball game altogether. Nobody can deny, though, that the foundation of any sport lies at the grassroots and junior level. So, a solid foundation has been laid for Bangladesh but still, there is a lot of work to be done.
A major reason behind a country like India producing several world-class cricketers over the years is because the BCCI has put a lot of emphasis on junior level cricket. No wonder India has won four Under-19 World Cup titles. This year also India finished runner-up.
BCB ( Bangladesh Cricket Board) too acknowledged that something needed to be done to revamp the junior levels. A whole new approach was adopted after the Tigers failed to win the Under-19 World Cup in 2016 and 2018.
Putting in place a robust system for breeding talent
A lot of the credit goes to a former international cricketer of Bangladesh, Khaled Mahmud. To put in place a robust system for breeding talented young cricketers a game development committee was formed that was headed by Mahmud.
Former Sri Lankan cricketer Navid Nawaz, who had earned himself a reputation of being an efficient coach at the junior level, was appointed as the coach of the Under-19 team of Bangladesh.
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In the next phase, talented cricketers were identified from different age groups. The rest, as they say, is history. But the bigger task is to facilitate a path for the smooth transition of the talented youngsters of Bangladesh into the highest level of cricket.
History of struggle
The Bangladesh cricket team is yet to gain a strong foothold at the international level. Since achieving the status of a Test-playing nation in 2000, the Tigers have won only 13 out of 118 Tests they have played so far.
However, Bangladesh is a much-improved side in the shorter formats of the game. The Tigers had made it to the quarter-final stage of the ICC 2015 World Cup and ICC 2017 Champions Trophy. Before that, they were earmarked as “minnows” for a long time.
Bangladesh sure has the potential to raise the bar further. The achievement of Ali and his boys assumes significance in this regard. It bears testimony to the fact that a new generation of talented and young cricketers are ready to take Bangladesh cricket to greater heights.
A rich culture of cricket
The gentleman’s game has a huge fan following in the subcontinent and Bangladesh is no exception. The country has a rich culture of cricket and has produced some remarkable cricketers who have left an imprint on world cricket.
The names of Mashrafe Mortaza, Shakib-al-Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim immediately come to mind. Now, the time has come for the likes of Shoriful Islam, Rakibul Hasan, and Mritunjoy Choudhury to write a new chapter in the history of Bangladesh cricket and take them to greater heights in all formats of the game at the senior level.
N}2� �Published 02 Mar 2020, 01:10 IST