Where the celebrated senior cricketers fell short, the under-19 unsung boys made the dream come true. They are the world champions in the 50-over version of cricket. Their achievement is the first of its kind in the country's history. Earlier the triumph in the 1997 ICC tournament in Malaysia for 1999 World Cup qualification was a milestone for Bangladesh cricket because that announced the country's presence on the world stage. This time the win for the younger cricketers is a testament of their prowess as the world's best among the cricket-playing nations. It is the game's ultimate success and to their credit, the boys have made it happen. The way the younger cricketers have applied themselves is what really sets them apart from the Bangladesh teams competing earlier at this or senior levels. For the Bangladesh cricket teams, it was so near and yet so far in a number of major tournaments' finals. The maturity of mindset and the application of cricketing skills displayed by the under-19 cricketers have rightly drawn appreciation from the best in the business.
Their success is all the more savoury because they have defeated in the final none other than India with the tag 'the team to beat'. Indian under-19 team was the reigning champion and has remained unbeaten since 2016 until the final at Potchefstroom, South Africa. In the tournament never were India all out in any of the matches before. Moreover, India is the most successful team with the most under-19 World Cup titles -4 altogether and Australia trailing with 3 championships. So beating India in this format was a daunting task, particularly after the form they showed in beating the rest of the rivals. They beat Pakistan by 10 wickets. In the final though, Bangladesh laid the foundation of their win by bowling superbly and restricting the Indians to 177 runs all out. Then after some torrid times in between, the batsmen-particularly captain Akbar Ali, steadied the innings to finish the task in a clinical fashion. There lies the mark of cricketing greatness.
Members of the Under-19 team and their coaching staff have attributed their success to the hard work done and the team spirit developed over the past one and a half years. What they have not mentioned is the inherent cricketing talent and the spotting of the budding ones from different corners of this land. Remarkably, the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the selection committee have also done their part by perfecting the right blend in the team and then nurturing them properly. More than 30 matches they played before arriving in South Africa.
Evidently, there is no dearth of cricketing talent here. What is needed is to spot them and the younger are they caught the better. Then they must be made to go through a most enabling process in order to bring out the best in them. This team has exactly done this. Most of the cricketers have come from modest and poor families. If they are tended well, they might bring more laurels for the country. Let this be the beginning. They surely can eye the World Cup when they are inducted in the senior team. However, apart from their cricketing performance they must as well be briefed about on and off-field behaviour. The unfortunate altercation after their victory has somewhat tarnished cricket's gentlemanly image if only momentarily with the ICC penalising three Bangladeshi players alongside two from the Indian team.
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