Monday, October 21, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Bangladesh U-19 belong in the Super League

Rafiq Ahmed
After yesterday's results, I have no doubt in my mind that Bangladesh's youth team belong in the Super League stage of the World Cup U-19 tournament. In cricket, they say the weak can beat the strong on any given day. But in Bangladesh's case, I think this time they really have a strong team, not one of imposters as on past occasions.

After yesterday's upsets by Nepal over South Africa, Zimbabwe over Australia, and the relative competitiveness of New Zealand against India, one has to think that Bangladesh could truly take on any of these teams. In fact, had it not been for the late order collapse against New Zealand, Bangladesh would have been through to the second stage by now, along with India.

Can Bangladesh beat India on Friday? Yes. If they play according to their abilities and not let the Indians intimidate them, Bangladesh can take the game to their opponents. An in-form Nafis Iqbal (a rare state of being for any Bangladeshi bastman at any level, so touch wood) should strike some level of fear in the hearts of India's rather pedestrian bowling attack. Not all of our batsmen have clicked in this tournament, but one gets the feeling that when they do, it will be a sight to behold. Bangladesh's fielding and fitness have to be on par with India, if not better. And while Bangldesh's spinners may not have as much success as they did against NZ and Scotland, our bowling as a whole is more potent.

Finally, if Talha Jubair is fit to play, he could be the ace who tips the odds in our favor. Talha has missed the opening games of the tournament, has never been known to be a match winner, and introducing him against India with the entire tournament in the balance would be quite risky. But Talha may perhaps be Bangladesh's best future prospect from the current U-19 team, and if he is ever to shine on the world stage, it might as well be on Friday.

In the end, Bangladesh must rise to the occasion and show they can take the prize with both hands. India have less to play for, and Bangladesh needs to take advantage of complacency in their opponents, should there be any.

The gap between the Bangladesh U-19 team and the rest of the field is much narrower than that between our test team and their competition. All of this bodes well for the future of our cricket. If we end up facing the likes of South Africa or Australia in the Plate Championship finals next week on, we should take heart from that fact.