Bangladesh and Sri Lanka players consider the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup as the best possible opportunity for cricketers to hone their skills as they approach senior-level cricket and advise them to grab every chance at the upcoming edition of the tournament, which showcases future stars every two years.
Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal, who played along with Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan, and pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman, whose batch included Mehedi Hasan and Mosaddek Hossain, take pride in their respective sides, which they feel competed well against the best.
Sri Lanka Test captain Dinesh Chandimal considers the U19 CWC a very important step towards the development of an international cricketer while Dimuth Karunaratne feels players can learn important tactics and how to win matches during this tournament.
Bangladesh players reflect on the U19 CWC:
Tamim Iqbal (played in 2006): “I remember England visited us just before the tournament. I think we beat them 5-0 and eventually we got beaten by them in the quarterfinals. That is a memory that I have, which is not a very nice one, but the team that we had during that Under-19 World Cup was probably one of the best that Bangladesh has ever produced.”
“We got all the facilities that the national team was getting in those days and we learnt a lot. My message to players is to play hard, play fair, it’s a fantastic tournament and the best part is that if you do well, the world will know.
Mustafizur Rahman (played in 2014): “Seven of us from the squad of 15 have so far represented the Bangladesh national team. It is always special to find someone from the 2014 Under-19 World Cup alongside me in the Bangladesh team. It means the investment and belief in us is paying off.
“Playing in the tournament possibly allowed me to fit in more comfortably when I made my international debut. My message to players is to be very proud because you are among the best youth players in your country. Play your natural game and enjoy the tournament.”
Sri Lanka players reflect on the U19 CWC:
Dinesh Chandimal (played in 2008): “It’s a really big thing growing up as a player – it’s a really big opportunity for them. It’s the turning point if you are becoming an international cricketer, I think that is the first stage, that is the starting time.
“My memory is of the time I was named man of the match against Australia. I scored only seven runs – I was keeping wickets and took seven catches, had one stumping and one run out. I was surprised that I got man of the match and I think that was the first time a wicketkeeper got the award in such a manner in the Under19 World Cup.”
Dimuth Karunaratne (played in 2006): “When you play the Under-19 World Cup, you learn a lot of things – how you play international cricket, how you play with different countries and in major tournaments. It’s a huge thing in your life and you learn your game-plans, pressure situations, how you win and lose.
“Most of the players who represent their countries play in the Under-19 World Cup. It’s a huge thing for your life – grab your opportunity, don’t think it is just another tournament – it is not easy but take the opportunity with both hands.”