A triumph in the works for years


There is a festive mood all around Bangladesh's cricket fraternity since they clinched their maiden ICC Under-19 World Cup trophy, beating tournament favourites India in the final at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom in South Africa, reports Cricbuzz.

The young cricketers have received a lot of accolades for their achievements at home and abroad, and now the BCB have initiated a move to prepare them better for the highest stage by introducing an Under-21 platform for them.

It will be an extended version of the plan that was laid down by Game Development chairman Khaled Mahmud right after their loss in the Under-19 World Cup semi-final to West Indies at home in 2016.

BCB broke away from their previous norm of preparing a squad without any proper goal in place. In head coach Naveed Nawaz, Bangladesh got a man to travel the difficult long road as the board trained their entire focus and energies towards the World Cup in this time frame - since his appointment in July 2018.

"I came up with the plan probably two or two and a half years back when Papon [Nazmul Hasan, BCB president] asked me what do I want to do to become a champion at Under-19 level," Mahmud told Cricbuzz.

"In a crunch moment we lost it. Like in a tough over, because we did not have that maturity or experience inside. So what we decided... how many matches can we play [during this time frame], because if we play more matches, it will let the boys get mature and gain experience," he said.

"I think, if you don't play enough matches, then the understanding of the match will not be there. They played around 35 matches [prior the World Cup] to become a better cricket team with good unity and good understanding of the game, mentally stable in tough situation," he added.

"We came out with the concept before the World Cup, we spoke to the boys [and they] came out to the concept that, we clean our own mess. We do make mistakes then we rectify them. I think the boys, specially the captain, responded really well. From the start, even if we were training, we won't leave a bottle in the space we train. We put everything in the bins, and we clean our mess. Even if we have a meeting, after the meeting is finished we clean the place and put the chairs back," Naveed said.

"These are the small steps that can go a long way. Also something that we spoke about was looking after each other. As a batting group, you got seven batsmen in your team playing and it is bound to happen that three or four batsmen are going to fail everyday. It will happen. I don't know who but somebody is going to fail. We said, if three fail then the other four will have to cover up for them. You do their job. One day you are going to fail and someday else will have to do your job," he said.

This realization of cleaning their own mess and taking up responsibility for each other came up in the aftermath of their loss against India in the Youth Asia Cup final when they fell short by five runs in a small chase of 107.

"I saw Asia Cup final, when we went into bat chasing 107 runs, they were all over us. Our boys did not have the time to even think. They were banging the ball short, coming and screaming in the batsmen's ears, they played really aggressive, even in England. 

So it's not the skill, it's the mentality. It's your mental strength and how hard you can push your opponents and things like that, so we learn," Naveed said.