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Rakibul confident of defending U-19 WC title

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 21 December, 2021 12:00 AM
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Rakibul confident of defending U-19 WC title
The players and officials of Bangladesh Under-19 team pose for a photo in front of the National Cricket Academy in Mirpur on Monday. The junior Tigers will depart for UAE today to take part in the upcoming ACC U-19 Asia Cup. After competing in the tournament, the team will go straight to West Indies to play the forthcoming edition of the ICC U-19 World Cup, scheduled next month on Caribbean soil. – BCB PHOTO

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Bangladesh Under-19 skipper Rakibul Hasan expressed his confidence in retaining the title of the ICC Under-19 World Cup despite their lack of preparation for the global meet.

The junior Tigers, who won the last edition of the event on the back of long-term preparation, couldn’t get enough chances to prepare in the same manner due to the Covid-19 situation over the last two years.

The U-19 team, which recently won a triangular series in India, will leave for the UAE today to take part in the ACC U-19 Asia Cup. The team will then travel to West Indies to play the upcoming edition of the ICC Under-19 World Cup, scheduled from January 14 to February 5 next year.

 “Like us, other teams also couldn’t prepare as per plan. But we played a few series in the last couple of months so I think it was quite good enough for us,” Rakibul told the reporters in Mirpur on Monday.

“Even the camp we attended prior to the Asia Cup would help us a lot,” added Rakibul, who was part of Bangladesh’s 2020 U-19 World Cup triumph squad in South Africa.

The defending champions are placed in Group A alongside Canada, UAE and England this year and before the tournament, they will take part in the ACC U-19 Asia Cup this month.

Bangladesh will begin their Group B campaign against Nepal on December 24 before they face Kuwait and Sri Lanka on December 25 and 28 respectively.

The top two teams from each of the two groups will move to the semifinal stage. Both semifinal matches will take place on December 30 and the final will be played on December 31 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

 “See, in the World Cup, there is no term like big team or small. We respect them all. We need to defeat them all. We will be keen to put our best within our preparation,” said Rakibul, adding that winning the triangular series in India is a huge boost for them.

“It gives us a huge kick that we clinched the title against India at their home. In the World Cup, there are a good number of tough sides along with India. We will be aiming to play our best in the competition,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh head coach Naved Newaz said that they’re not looking too far ahead as they are keen to take one game at a time.

“We are very confident going in. Like I told you before, we're not looking that far but we have got a plan under our belts to see how we are going to perform. We have set up all the combinations. So definitely we are going for it,” said Newaz.

“The thing is we know what kind of skills we need to build when you are going into a World Cup. So we have been doing that in the last one and half years, we’ve been building the skills, preparing the teams and once you have a team, which is prepared in every angle and you don’t need to look at the end of the tournament, you just need to look where we are heading next, put in the right combination and also play just one game at a time.

“We are looking at the bigger picture but in a playing angle we just focus on the present and face a game at a time, easy and less complicated,” he said, adding that doing well in the Asia Cup will help them build the momentum.