Bangladesh Cricket Board had extensive plans to convert the World Cup winning Under-19 cricketers to future national stars but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the board to hit pause on their development process.
With the country’s pandemic crisis worsening, the young Tigers’ return to cricket still seemed a fair bit away but once the crisis ends the BCB was keen to swiftly draft the players into their carefully chalked programme, said national game development manager AEM Kawsar.
Kawsar, who was the Under-19 team manager during the World Cup in South Africa, said that the BCB was contacting few English county sides and Australian provincial teams for training support before the pandemic put a stop to everything.
‘We were in talks with few English county teams to have a camp there, use their training facilities and play some matches against their second string teams. We were also exploring opportunities with some Australian provincial teams,’ Kawsar told New Age.
‘We wanted to spend the summer in England with a county side so that the batsmen could learn to handle the swing and bowlers learn how to use the swing. We wanted to design the training camp followed by some matches.
‘There was an exchange tour programme with Sri Lanka for emerging teams where we could have sent a few of the Under-19 World Cup winning team players, let’s see what happens to it,’ he added.
Although those plans were put on hold for the time being, Kawsar was hopeful that their plans would eventually take the floor at a later time.
‘I hope that things will go as planned. Maybe it will be pushed back a bit but hopefully we will send the team to England next summer. Then we will try to induct the players into HP or emerging team,’ he said.
The majority of Bangladesh’s international engagements this year were already postponed which meant the national team players would presumably be available to take part in the Dhaka Premier League once it resumes, curbing playing opportunities for the Under-19 cricketers.
Kawsar agreed that the Under-19 boys will find it hard to get picked in their club teams but said that it was part of their learning process.
‘I think from September, [Dhaka] Premier League will resume; then NCL, BCL and even a BPL. So, there could be a lot of playing opportunity,’ Kawsar said.
‘Not all of them can get the chance to play equally. But that’s also a lesson for them, to see how a regional team or a BPL team functions and the experience will help them.’
The forced sabbatical could turn the young cricketers’ skills rusty but Kawsar believed they would return to prime condition in no time with proper training.
‘They are professionals, they know what to do. They are doing some drills at home. I think they are at 70 per cent of their abilities now, with three-four weeks intense training they will get back to shape.’
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