Young world champions bide their time | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 05, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:25 AM, July 05, 2020

Young world champions bide their time

"It is just boring spending time at home. How much longer can one sit idle at home?," Under-19 World Cup-winning captain Akbar Ali chuckled as he wondered when he could return to the field and hone his batting and wicketkeeping skills.

"Now I am counting days till resumption. There is nothing you can do," Akbar's U-19 teammate Rakibul Hasan said.

Since the enforced break brought on by the coronavirus, the U-19 squad, like other cricketers, have had to stay put at home -- knocking tennis balls on a terrace or doing some catching practice by bouncing balls off walls being the closest thing to cricket for them.

But it seems their days of frustration will soon be over as the BCB's plans to bring cricket back gathered steam.

Although still dependant on the improvement of the situation, the BCB's announcement of putting all major international and first-class venues -- eight in total, including different training facilities -- under maintenance for an imminent return of cricket provided a ray of hope for the young Tigers. The board is eyeing a return to shorter-version cricket with resumption of training being the first step.

The Bangladesh team conquered age-level cricket in February this year by winning the U-19 World Cup so it was more frustrating to sit at home during a time when they could have stepped up their preparation for senior level cricket.

Akbar, whose services were secured by Gazi Group in the Dhaka Premier League -- which was halted after the completion of the first round -- said he was looking to make a successful transition to the next level.

"Personally I was really excited to play senior-level cricket. I was excited about the DPL. It would have been a massive boost if we could have played the DPL. Till now we only played age-level cricket and the ones we played with all have similar level of skill. But when you play in the DPL, you play with more experienced players and that would have been a huge plus for us," Akbar told The Daily Star.

Akbar believed the coronavirus had slightly set him back in his development process.

"I think it has been set back slightly but I hope that when this pandemic is over, the BCB will restart everything step-by-step. Obviously it is frustrating. Had I been in the field now, I would have been working on the flaws that I noted down. It would have helped my career," said the 18-year-old.

While Akbar is ruing the missed opportunity, U-19 pacer Shoriful Islam is just hoping to get his rhythm back as soon as the pandemic is over.

"It is difficult for a fast bowler to be away for such a long time. But I hope that I will be able to return to my previous form after practicing for a few weeks and get my rhythm back," said Shoriful.

The BCB had plans to send the U-19 team to foreign camps this year, but the pandemic has forced those plans to be put on hold.

"It would have benefitted us immensely. If we could go to a foreign country and stay there, we could have gotten used to conditions there. It would have developed our game. Maybe it has been delayed but I hope that we can go to such camps in the future and give our best," left-arm spinner Rakibul hoped.

Even though the young Tigers are staying positive and hoping for cricket to resume soon, their urge to return to the green field that has a 22-yard pitch in the middle is very clear, especially from how Akbar mentioned the first thing he would do after the resumption is "a lot of batting", the thing he misses most.

 

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