Bangladesh’s U-19 cricket team won the inaugural U-19 Asia Cup on Sunday in Dubai, defeating the host nation, the United Arab Emirates, and adding a prestigious trophy to their collection.
A cursory review of the statistics reveals that Bangladesh has recently achieved some extremely encouraging achievements at this level. Nevertheless, the national team has not demonstrated the same level of performance and accomplishment.
Following the Under-19 team’s 2020 World Cup victory, attention returned to the age group, and several players from that squad, including Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Tawhid Hridoy, and Shoriful Islam, have progressed to the current national team. Others exist, such Akbar Ali, who has not yet been included in the national squad.
The international arena and the age group continue to differ in quality. One is for development, while the other continuously wants the best caliber of cricket. Therefore, success in such a competition does not guarantee success in international cricket.
“A player’s opponents at the U19 level are also members of the same group. After that, though, there is no age restriction because they are up against players who are 35 years old. In response to the growing demand for excellence in international cricket, Hannan Sarkar, the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s (BCB) U19 selector, stated that “you need to have proper maturity to face them when you pit yourself against those opponents.”
“Activities with the HP, Bangla Tigers, or A team provide the preparation for the national team. If they were adequately prepared, they could compete. Our departments are currently operating efficiently, but given the necessary process, it’s possible that moving forward we’ll need to adopt a different approach. Otherwise, the same situation will occur because the majority of players are U19 players, but closing that gap requires a crucial process, he continued.
Even with the success of a select few like Hridoy or Shoriful, not many performers at that age range could continue. Hridoy actually participated in the U19 World Cup twice, indicating that he still needed to grow as a player at the U19 level.
A better environment for players at the U19 level is made possible by the lack of outside noise and the U-19 program’s stable institutional procedures. But this isn’t the case with the national team configuration.
The Under-19 captain, Rabby, stated that the adventure has just begun.
“I think the big days will start after the [Under-19] World Cup [in January 2024]. We won’t be able to utilize that time and will fall behind if we ignore our work throughout those days. They have made use of top-notch facilities and training to break into the national squad in other nations. We have to start preparing immediately in order to perform well for the national team,” he said to The Daily Star yesterday, demonstrating his awareness of the leap’s difficulties.
Since the U19 team practiced on athletic or bouncy fields prior to the main tournament, it is important to acknowledge the coaching setup and preparation methods used. This is a process that must be continued.
Habibul Bashar, the national team selector, believes that it is the duty of each player to get ready. “I believe the system is now operating more effectively. They weren’t making the DPL teams or going anywhere after the U19 level, as we saw earlier, but now that they’re in the HP program, things have greatly changed,” he remarked.
A lot of the U19 champions are currently preparing for the December 24 start of the Bangladesh Cricket League one-day matches. Playing on top-notch fields and with a structured cricket system can help develop players who will eventually be able to contribute to the national squad.