The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) had long-term plans for the 2019 ICC Under-19 World Cup-winning young Tigers but things changed dramatically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that gripped the world since early 2020.
The BCB's game development committee had even formed an under-21 side with all the members of the champion team and were almost in the final stages of arranging a long camp in England.
Akbar Ali and his troops were keen to share the dressing room with senior members and play alongside their idols Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and others in domestic competitions.
There was much anticipation among the world champions to make the step up but the long wait to return to competitive cricket has frustrated those desires.
Finally, however, the BCB is all set to return to competitive cricket after a gap of seven months through the three-team fifty-over competition starting from October 11, and the selectors have included a majority of the World Cup-winning side, who are divided among the three teams.
Although the tournament may be just another event for the seniors like Tamim and Mushfiqur, for Akbar, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Shoriful Islam and others it is a golden opportunity for which they have been waiting their entire careers.
"It's been a long wait, honestly, since we won the World Cup last year. We had huge plans to take the next step and we were eager to give our best whenever the opportunity came. Obviously, we had very little to do during this pandemic, although the board had arranged a training camp in BKSP, which was really helpful," said World Cup-winning captain Akbar.
"If everything remained normal, we might have played the Dhaka [Premier] League which we all were eagerly awaiting, but that didn't happen. But finally, we will get the chance to play competitive cricket in the three-team tournament and I am included in Tamim bhai's team. I will try to utilise this opportunity and learn from my seniors as much I can in the coming days," he added.
Young left-handed opener Tanzim, another young opening batsman, who is nicknamed Tamim, impressed many during the World Cup campaign and will also be playing under the senior Tamim, who he idolises.
"It is like a dream come true playing in Tamim bhai's team. As an opening batsman I have always tried to learn from Tamim bhai and it can't get better than if I could open the innings with him and share the same dressing room. After the World Cup, we were actually waiting to play with the seniors in the domestic circuit, be it in the Dhaka League or in the first-class competitions but that didn't happen. The upcoming tournament will be a huge platform for us to showcase our talent and, more importantly, we will learn a lot from our seniors," said Tamim.
From yesterday, the BCB also started the training camp of the High-Performance squad, in which twelve World Cup-winning players were included. The cricketers currently in the HP squad are expected to join their respective teams from October 10 for the tri-series.