With an aim to form a team for the 2019 Under-19 World Cup, the Bangladesh under-19 team, led by Saif Hassan, will leave for Sri Lanka tomorrow in order to take part in the Under-19 Asia Cup.
A total of eight teams will take part in the competition, which will be held in Sri Lanka from December 13 to 24. Apart from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and hosts Sri Lanka, the tournament will also feature Afghanistan, Nepal, Singapore and Malaysia.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, the U-19 team expressed their confidence ahead of the competition.
Saif Hassan, who was a member of the under-19 team that reached the semifinal of the Under-19 World Cup in January this year, described his team as a 'balanced' outfit.
“Our team is quite balanced. When we were in the under-17s, many of us played together. We have prepared quite well too. We practised together, did a few camps and that's the reason we are all ready.
“We will take it match by match. Hopefully we will be able to do something really good. We won't worry too much about the results. Whatever we learn from this competition will be beneficial for us,” a composed Saif told reporters.
Coach Mohammad Abdul Karim Jewel told reporters about how this tournament could be a good base to help Bangladesh form its under-19 team for the World Cup in 2019.
“We will be facing Pakistan, Afghanistan and Singapore in the first round of the Asia Cup. If we can do well, we can go into the next round. Aside from this tournament, the other target we have is the 2019 [Under-19] World Cup.
“We can consider this as the preliminary squad for that World Cup. We are working on the team that will be ready to play after a year. This tournament will be a good practice for us,” explained Jewel.
Following the press conference, the under-19s took part in a day-night 50-over encounter at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
Surprisingly enough, former banned cricketer Mohammad Ashraful played for one of the teams.
When enquired about the reason behind his inclusion, national manager of Bangladesh Cricket Board's game development Nazmul Abedin Fahim said: “Since the rest of the players were taking a break from the BPL and because Ashraful was around we decided to include him in the warm-up game.”