Bangladesh team in recent years have been bold in world cricket. Taking on the giants in the game and winning against them both at home and away is turning into a habit for the side and no picture can be better looking than this. We are the No 6 team in the ODI ranking and will be playing our maiden semi-final in an ICC event. The successes I believe are the result of nothing else but their love towards the country, passion for the game, discipline and hard work.
In 2003, I had been appointed team manager only to find a depleted Bangladesh side following their poor show in the World Cup that same year. To emerge from the low I, as the manager of the team, had taken charge to restore discipline, love for the land and pride for the game. This had become a must for the cricketers at that point of time in order to bring them out of their shell. It was a slow building process but gradually it produced results when we beat India to put them out of the 2007 World Cup and in the later stages of the tournament defeated South Africa. There is no doubt the cricketers then had to play with their heart on their sleeves but their preparation was key. Right before flying off to the West Indies for the flagship event, the team had undergone commando training in Sylhet to enrich their mental fitness.
The year 2007 for me was the start of the Tigers' rise in the game of cricket. We might have turned into a regular winner recently but it was the team 10 years ago which showed glimpses of their ability. The current team are now boosted with confidence. They are focused to get better every day and this is being backed well by the improved infrastructure of the game in our country. The pipeline for the national team is now better than anytime in the past and there are regular activities in age-level cricket to maintain this process.
Having reached a certain level now, the chief job for everyone will be to hold onto it. We have the 2019 World Cup approaching and need to make sure the team are in perfect shape in terms of fitness and preparation. With the current ODI team, I dream year 2019 will be ours. With this team we can go to the World Cup without any hesitation and if everything falls into place, play the final of the tournament I strongly believe.
My humble request will be to keep this team compact and inspired in all forms. We should base our preparation on strong planning and make sure to play bilateral series' against the top teams.
Colonel (retd.) Abdul Latif managed Bangladesh during their Australia, Pakistan, England and Sri Lanka tours in 2003 and 2005 and also served as vice president of the BCB. He recently wrote the article for Dhaka Tribune.