After being crowned Champions at the ICC Under-19 World Cup at South Africa, Bangladesh U-19 skipper Akbar Ali said that this was just the beginning for them. And now, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have announced a roadmap for the World Champions so that their path to the national side is smooth.
The victorious U-19 side returned home on Wednesday and were given a hero's welcome at the airport and the Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russell and BCB President Nazmul Hasan welcomed the Tiger cubs at the airport.
The stadium was filled with supporters and they were chanting 'Champions, Champions!' A cake was cut to celebrate this feat and they did a lap of honour on the ground.
Nazmul Hassan, U-19 skipper Akbar Ali and Coach Navid Nawaz then attended a press conference at BCB. In the press conference, the BCB President announced the board's plans for the World Champions.
Hassan announced that BCB will now form an Under-21 side to ensure that this group of players continue to play and improve.
"We (BCB) will form a U-21 side for these players. They will be handed two-year contracts where they will receive Tk1 lakh per month. These contracts might be renewed after two years judging their performance," Hassan stated.
He further added, "The coming days are even more challenging for them. That is why they will receive two years of specialized training to improve their skillset. They will be provided with the best facilities. There will be no shortage of funding for them. This will be to ensure a smoother passage for them to the national team."
Hassan went on to add that these players focus on cricket rather than all the media and fan adulation.
"I told them to drop their thoughts of being a superstar. They will eventually become superstars. The day they will think that they are indispensable, that will be the last day of their career," Hassan implied.
Hassan also added that the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will felicitate the side at Sohrawardi Udyan next week.
Nazmul also went on to add that Bangladesh have a lot of achievements but nothing matches winning the World Cup.
"We have a lot of achievements till date but nothing can be compared to winning a World Cup. A World Cup is a World Cup," he added.
The BCB Supremo was pleasantly surprised with the team's fielding. He also praised the U-19 skipper Akbar saying that he was charged up all the time.
The U-19 side head coach Navid Nawaz added that this side played well because they had a lot of experience by playing for a long time.
"This side had a lot of experience because of playing about 35 youth ODIs together. And another reason was that every one of the side knew their roles clearly," the Sri Lankan coach added.