Bangladesh’s ICC Under-19 World Cup winning cricketers are living in anxiety and desperation. Ready to step onto the field with the bigger boys and prove their mettle, all that the youngsters can do now is wait for the Coronavirus pandemic to subside, reports Cricbuzz.
Cricket is postponed more or less everywhere in the world and Bangladesh is no exception. As a result, the latest edition of the Dhaka Premier League, the country's traditional 50-over club tournament, has been halted after just one game. The tournament has established a reputation as the breeding hub for upcoming cricketers in the country. Though it has lost some of its gloss over the years considering the unavailability of the national cricketers due to their international commitments, it is still renowned as something prestigious and traditional.
While clubs and other stakeholders including cricketers are worried due to the uncertainty prevailing in the country that is under lockdown, it looks the Under-19 World Cup winning stars are the most worried, and with the most to lose.
For the next gen cricketers, DPL is the biggest platform to flourish taking into account the stakes involved. A good tournament sets them up for the Bangladesh Premier League, the country's lone T20 tournament. Though the BCB have initiated a move to bring these cricketers under a pay-roll structure, giving them TK One Lakh per month for two years, nothing compares to an opportunity on the field.
Under-19 skipper Akbar Ali admitted it without hesitation that he is well aware how he's lost the chance to make a mark. ''Certainly it's a big blow [not playing in the DPL] considering it was a great platform for us,'' said Akbar, who is featuring for Gazi Tank Cricketers and could not replicate a similar show that he did in the final against India in the opening game.
''The senior players could have shared their experience with us but unfortunately that is not case now as we lost it [DPL] due to an unexpected situation. I had made my plans regarding DPL. I was eyeing to take it on match by match basis and perform accordingly,'' he added.
Shinepukur's left-arm spinner Hasan Murad, who played a big part behind taking Bangladesh into the ICC Under-19 World Cup final, emphasized that this gap will certainly have an impact on his rhythm but insisted how he is optimistic they won't totally lose this edition of the league.
''I was is good rhythm [from the World Cup] and bowled well in the first match but there is some gap afterwards and for any cricketer if there is any gap between matches it is a loss for them. Now I am trying to get fitter while at home'' said Murad. ''The Dhaka Premier League is a great opportunity but for now, we are lost in the current situation,'' he said.
Bangladesh chief selector Minhajul Abedin admitted that it was a huge loss for the young cricketers in particular as they were looking forward to see how they perform in the DPL.
''Winning the U-19 WC was a big achievement but at the same time for them the next ladder to showcase their potential was DPL,'' said Minhajul. ''Definitely we were eager to see how they [Under-19 cricketers] perform in the DPL because there is immense pressure in club cricket. Coping with that pressure is important because it helps you to grow as a cricketer and we were looking forward to see how they do in the regard.
"There is no guarantee that everyone will make it in the playing XI of their respective clubs. For clubs, the balance of the team is more important than promoting a youngster, so they know that they have to grab their first opportunity."
Minhajul added that they are also unable to select their High Performance squad where they were looking to include few of the Under-19 cricketers as the list is prepared only after seeing their performance in the DPL.
''In many sense, the postponement of DPL is a huge loss for youngster,'' he concluded, summing up the emotions of the many young cricketers in the country.