India might have suffered a heartbreaking three-wicket defeat at the hands of Bangladesh in ICC Under-19 World Cup final, but it was an Indian whose tips did wonders for Akbar Ali and company during the triumphant campaign.
A number of players in Bangladesh’s squad, including skipper Akbar have trained under former India Test opener Wasim Jaffer, who was appointed batting coach of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)’s high performance academy in Mirpur last year.
In an exclusive chat with The Telegraph, Jaffer hailed the Bangladeshi youngsters and had special words reserved for Akbar, who played a precious knock in the summit clash on Sunday (February 9).
“He was very proactive while India were batting and led the team very well in this final. Akbar has also led Bangladesh’s U-14 and U-16 teams. He has, in fact, spent a lot of time captaining these teams.
“So with time, you do improve and the more you captain, the more you learn. His astuteness actually stood out,” Jaffer said.
In the final, the Boys in Green bowled out India for a paltry 177 in 47.2 overs. Avishek Das (3/40), Shoriful Islam (2/31) and Tanzim Hasan Sakib (2/28) were the stand-out bowlers for Bangladesh on the big day.
Chasing the target, Bangladesh were in trouble with India leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi bowling a superb spell full of googlies to reduce them to 102/6 at one stage. But captain Akbar’s unbeaten 43 helped them get past the line via DLS method as rain halted play towards the end.
No wonder, Jaffer is optimistic of a brighter future for Bangladesh cricket.
“Most of these guys have practised under me. They have been playing a lot of age-group cricket for a while. They have a lot of understanding among them…
“It’s a very talented group. Apart from Akbar, Shahadat Hossain was also with me. So was Prantik (Nawrose Nabil).
“I have seen most of them closely… They outplayed most of the teams. India were the favourites to win the final, but they outshone them too,” he said.
“Bangladesh cricket is slowly and steadily coming into its own,” Jaffer added.
Commenting on the final, the 41-year-old said: “Bangladesh made the right decision to bowl first after winning the toss. They then backed it up then with their bowling. They did panic in the middle, but showed composure in the end. Overall, I think they outplayed India, who lost the plot after Yashasvi (Jaiswal) got out.”