Kolkata: Former Bangladesh captain and national selector Habibul Bashar is hopeful that quite a few players from the U-19 World Cup-winning team will serve the nation for a long time by breaking into the senior squad. Bangladesh, led by the calm and collected Akbar Ali, stunned defending champions India by three wickets (via D/L method) in a thrilling final played on Sunday to win the country's first global cricket title.
"This is great for our cricket. We played in the Asia Cup final and failed, same with the Nidahas Trophy final, so we were struggling to cross the final hurdle but the junior team broke the jinx and that too at a World Cup which is a very positive sign for us," Bashar told IANS from Rawalpindi where he is with the senior team that lost to Pakistan by an innings and 44 runs in the first Test of the two-match series.
"I am hopeful that we will get a lot of players from this group who will graduate into the senior team and serve Bangladesh cricket for a long time," said Habibul Bashar who played 50 Tests and 111 ODIs for Bangladesh.
In a low-scoring summit clash, Bangladesh first bowled India out for a paltry 177 in 47.2 overs and then did well enough to score the revised target of 170 in 42.1 overs under the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Play was stopped by rain towards the end but once it resumed, the target was revised to 170 and with seven runs to get and three wickets in hand, it became a cakewalk for Bangladesh as they scripted a golden chapter in their country's cricket history.
Asked to name a few players that caught his eye, Bashar said: "I don't want to take names. We will see how it goes. I am expecting quite a few to serve Bangladesh cricket for long as I said.
"They will now graduate from U-19 to the high-performance unit. The U-23 players are groomed and nurtured there. We will see how it goes with them -- whether they will be directly inducted or will need some time. The process will go on with them," said the 47-year old.
The summit clash ended on a controversial note as players of both the teams were seen involved in an altercation. While India skipper Priyam Garg termed it as 'dirty', Akbar apologised on his team's behalf.
"I did not see. I am with the senior team in Rawalpindi. But they are young boys. So, it was exuberance of youth you can say," Bashar said when asked about the incident.
However, Bashar lauded 18-year-old captain Akbar, who showed nerves of steel with a patient 43 not out off 77 balls, coming out to bat when his team was in a spot of bother and seeing out India's threats from leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi and fast bowler Kartik Tyagi's spells before reaching the finishing line with ease.
"Akbar Ali led from the front, he is very good. He really showed excellent composure and led us to victory," Bashar signed off. IANS