Passion, determination and the will to fight was all evident as Bangladesh U-19 battled past defending champions India in the final to bag their maiden ICC U-19 World Cup title. Led by their cool-headed captain Akbar Ali, Bangladesh fought with all they had to become the first team from the nation to win a World Cup across all age levels.
It was a complete team effort from Bangladesh as they played their hearts out. Despite the scuffle between the players after the end of the match, Bangladesh’s fighting spirit and will to win stood out. It can be hard to believe but Bangladesh’s historic World Cup win has an Indian connection. Some of the top Bangladesh U-19 players were trained by former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer.
Wasim Jaffer was appointed as the batting coach of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)’s high-performance academy in Mirpur last year. He worked with a number of Bangladesh U-19 stars at the academy including captain Ali, who the former India batsman singled out for special praise. Ten-time Ranji Trophy champion and the all-time leading run-scorer in the tournament, Jaffer has been a run machine in the Indian domestic circuit.
He bestowed his batting knowledge upon the youngsters at BCB’s academy where the likes of Ali and Shahadat Hossain worked under him. Jaffer had nothing but praise for Bangladesh U-19 captain Ali after witnessing his remarkable composure and the way he led his side to glory against India.
“He (Akbar Ali) 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 was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
“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 added.