Bangladesh captain Mohammad Akbar Ali was battling mental trauma of losing his elder sister while steering his team to maiden ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 triumph in South Africa.
On January 22, Akbar’s elder sister Khadija Khatun passed away while giving birth to twins according to a report in leading Bangladesh daily ‘Prothom Alo.’
She had watched her brother lead Bangladesh to a nine-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in a rain-curtailed Group C affair, but couldn’t watch her beloved brother lift the country’s maiden World Cup trophy across all age groups on Sunday (February 10).
As per reports in Bengali daily Prothom Alo, Akbar’s father said: “Akbar was closest to his sister. She loved Akbar a lot. We did not want to inform him at first. He then called after the Pakistan match and questioned his brother why he was not kept in the loop. I did not have the courage to talk to him. I don’t know what to say.”
The 18-year-old, who is the youngest among his four brothers and sisters, was not informed about the tragedy back home, as they didn’t want the youngster to lose focus.
However, the wicket-keeper batsman got to know about his sister’s demise through one of his brothers after Bangladesh’s match against Pakistan was washed out on January 24.
Despite the blow, Akbar didn’t get unnerved, as the youngster then led Bangladesh to three wins – against the hosts South Africa in quarterfinal, New Zealand in the semi-final and then tense final against India in Potchefstroom, where he played the knock of his life of 43 runs when his team needed the most while chasing 177 to finish as Man of the Match and win the title as well.
(With PTI Inputs)