Bangladesh’s U19 WC success - Lankan junior coaches laid the platform | Daily News


Bangladesh’s U19 WC success - Lankan junior coaches laid the platform

It has taken Bangladesh six years longer than Sri Lanka to win a world cricket title, but nevertheless they have finally broken that drought when they emerged champions of the ICC Under 19 World Cup in South Africa when they humbled heavy favourites and defending champions India by three wickets in a tightly contested final which swayed from one side to the other before Akbar Ali played a captain’s knock of 43 not out to carry Bangladesh to a stunning win amidst ecstatic support from their frenetic supporters.

Bangladesh’s joy at winning their maiden world cricket title was uncontrollable as their players ran wild with delight carrying the national flag hugging and kissing each other and toasted a historic victory with a lap of honour in front of their travelling fans. Their reaction was quite understandable for a nation that has been yearning to win a world title or any title at all having come close on several occasions only to be pipped at the post.

At the helm of Bangladesh’s triumph is former Sri Lanka international Naveed Nawaz who was appointed by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) as their under 19 head coach in July 2018 until the 2020 Under 19 World Cup in South Africa.

At the time when the appointment was made the BCB made the statement: “We have appointed him (Nawaz) as our head coach until the next World Cup. We expect his vast experience at working with age-level players will help him to take our cricketers forward. Nawaz will oversee the Bangladesh U-19 team programmes and will prepare the side for the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2020 that will be held in South Africa.”

As captain Akbar Ali recalled, Bangladesh’s campaign to win the Under 19 World Cup began with Nawaz’s appointment. “When we started our journey, 1 1/2 years back, we had a goal. We knew we had it within ourselves when the group was formed. So to reach the final and lift the trophy, it’s a dream come true for us.”

Bangladesh showed signs that they were reaching their peak when they ended as runner-up in the 2019 ACC Asia Cup under 19 tournament held in Sri Lanka that included a win over the hosts that enabled them to finish as table toppers of Group A.

As a player Nawaz, a prolific scorer in domestic cricket with clubs sides Bloomfield and later NCC was a regular number three batsman playing alongside Sri Lanka players in the calibre of Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Hashan Tillakaratne and Kumar Sangakkara. He had very limited opportunities to represent his country. His solitary Test appearance was ironically against Bangladesh at the SSC grounds in 2002 where he scored 21 and 78 not out to sport a Test average of 99. He also played in three ODIs.

After retiring from international and domestic cricket in 2005 Nawaz ventured into the field of coaching. He was player-cum-coach of NCC, and one time head coach of Moors SC, SSC and Fingara International Cricket Academy (FICA). In 2009, Nawaz was appointed as consultant coach for the Sri Lanka women’s team and later head coach of the Sri Lanka under-19 side.

While everyone exults in joy at Bangladesh’s success, the seeds for it were sown many years ago as far back as 2000 the year they were granted Test status. The BCB president at the time Saber Hossain Chowdhury, a politician and Member of Parliament sought the help of Sri Lanka and requested for our junior cricket coaches because in his opinion they were among the best in the world. Sri Lanka Cricket whose president at the time was Thilanga Sumathipala responded immediately to their request and sent four coaches namely Carlton Bernadus (under 19), Malcolm Perera (under 17), Sumithra ‘Charlie’ Warnakulasuriya (under 15) and Senarath Alwis (under 13). These four coaches immediately set about reorganising the structure of Bangladesh’s junior cricket which at that stage was next to nothing.

“They had about 800 schools playing a 30-over knockout tournament, that’s all,” said Alwis. “There were 64 districts and six provinces and we developed a structure for junior cricket by introducing a divisional tournament for the age groups under 13, 15, 17 and 19.”

They also had a talent identification program where Alwis said through which cricketers like fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza, the present Bangladesh ODI captain and opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, Bangladesh’s leading run scorer in international cricket were discovered. In the 2-3 years these coaches were in Bangladesh they laid the platform for the junior cricketers to develop and come through a system which has today borne fruit.

Thus, while Bangladesh rejoices as a nation let’s not forget those who put them on the correct path to success.

Visit Sri Lanka's Largest online shop. Over 125,000 unique categories such as Fresh Flowers, Cakes, Food, Jewllery, Childrens Toys and other Sri Lankan e-commerce categories. Low delivery cost to most cities here and free delivery in Colombo.

Add new comment