The young world champions reached Dhaka on Wednesday evening and were received by Bangladesh Cricket Board directors and officials at the airport
Around 300 motorcycles, a dozen of cars and almost a 1000 of enthusiasts chanting with the beat of the brass band escorted ICC U19 World Cup 2020 champions Bangladesh U19 cricket team to Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur from Shahjalal International Airport yesterday. The young world champions reached Dhaka on Wednesday evening and were received by Bangladesh Cricket Board directors and officials at the airport.
Upon reaching the home of cricket in Mirpur, the cricketers and team staff were taken into the board meeting room for almost an hour-long meeting. Within this time the VIP Grand Stand was being poured in with enthusiast supporters – of all ages. The gates were open, scenes were chaotic as people pushed each other into stadium, there was concern over security but for the day it seemed all ropes were set lose.
The crowd erupted into celebration as the young cricketers walked into the ground through the corridor, hands were stretched out to the golden boys and they responded – sights similar to that of the superstars. Later, couple of cakes was cut to mark the occasion with presence of family members of the cricketers with fire crackers going off at the background.
Such were the scenes of how the U19 world champions were welcomed home. But this was in a small scale. A grand reception is scheduled to happen next week at Suhrawardy Udyan with presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, informed BCB president Nazmul Hasan.
“Without any doubt this is the biggest achievement of Bangladesh cricket. We have many highs, winning matches and playing finals but winning the World Cup is incomparable. They [Bangladesh U19 cricketers] have world’s attention now but I have told them one thing straight, they should not get carried away as this is just the start to their career,” said Nazmul to the media at SBNS on Wednesday.
Bangladesh by tradition is fond of giving big financial rewards to the players for achievements. There are occasions when even assists in shape of land or car has been given away. But considering the delicate age of the champion Bangladesh U19 cricketers, the board has come with a long-term plan that involves financial aid.
The BCB has decided to introduce an U21 unit in which the current of U19 cricketers will be taken in. For next two years these cricketers will be under salary of Taka 1 lakh each per month, Taka 25 lakhs after two years, and will be provided the best of the practice facilities.
“This is however upon subject to performance and development. The board will have eyes on these cricketers and will review their progress after two years. They will have best of facilities to practice and will play matches both home and away. This is just the start for them and we want them to get nurtured well,” said Nazmul.
Bangladesh U19 captain Akbar Ali said he and his teammates knew there will be a reception but not to this scale. For their heroics, Akbar and company are being considered as strong future for Bangladesh cricket. But Akbar does not want to envisage that far. The wicket-keeper batsman cited their achievement can be a possible stepping stone to better days of the game in the country but he doesn’t want to challenge the achievements that have come through the national team in hands of Tamim-Shakib-Mushfiqur-Mashrafe.
“We know this is just the start for us. The road ahead is tougher. A few of us are being said or compared to many big names of the game but we do not see it that way. What Tamim bhai, Shakib bhai, Mushfiqur bhai have achieved for the country is big and we will be fortunate enough if we can first hold onto that,” said Akbar.