It was a historic day for Bangladesh cricket as the U19 team became world champions for the first time but the immediate aftermath of the win against India was marred by unsavoury scenes in Potchefstroom on Sunday.
Bangladesh captain Akbar Ali, who was player of the match for his unflappable innings under high pressure, said he regretted the aggression from his players after his team won the U-19 ICC World Cup.
“What happened, it should not [have] happened,” Akbar Ali, the Bangladesh captain was quoted as saying at the post-match press conference by ESPNCricinfo. “I don’t know what exactly happened. I didn’t ask what was going on. But, you know, in the final, emotion can come out, and sometimes the boys were getting pumped, and emotions were coming through. As a youngster, it shouldn’t happen. In any position, in any manner, we have to show the respect to the opponent, we should have respect for the game.
“Cricket is known for being a gentleman’s game. So I’ll say, I’ll be sorry for my team.”
For his part, India captain Priyam Garg, was unhappy with the incident after the match.
“We were easy. We think it’s part and parcel of the game - you win some and you lose some,” Garg said according to the report. “But their reaction was dirty. I think it shouldn’t have happened. But it’s okay.”
While the broadcaster immediately cut away from live pictures of the fracas in the middle, a video posted by former South Africa all-rounder and commentator at the tournament JP Duminy, captures a Bangladesh player sliding in celebration on the pitch before taunting Indian players.
The Bangladesh players were aggressive right from the word go after winning the toss and bowling first. Pacers Shoriful Islam and Sakib were constantly sledging the Indian batsmen in their first spells.
Indian players were not much different as they were constantly trying to intimidate the Bangladesh batsmen by sledging and were also appealing excessively when things got desperate.
It was an ill-tempered clash from both sides.
Later on, as Bangladesh approached the winning runs, Shoriful was seen swearing multiple times openly on camera.
There was pushing and shoving at the end of the match and it was India coach Paras Mhambrey who was seen calming his boys and calling them back to the dugout.
Ali, however, maintained his composure on and off the pitch as he led his side remarkably under pressure.
“It’s a dream come true. It’s all about the hard work we have done over the last two years. The coaching staff...I just cannot thank them enough for how much support they have given us on and off the field. We’ve had a very good experience, and this is just the beginning for us. Hopefully, this will be the stepping stone for us,” said the skipper, who was also adjudged Player of the Final for his composed, unbeaten 43.
He then thanked the Bangladeshi supporters in his mother tongue.
“Those who have supported us here have been our 12th man here. We really appreciate it.”
India skipper Garg had acknowledged during the presentation ceremony that they had a poor day with the bat and they would have needed a total of 210-220 to make a match of it.
“It’s a bad day, but our boys fought really well. Even with such a low total, we made it difficult for them, and I would like to thank my team for that.
“The biggest factor was the toss, because the wicket was a bit damp. We had a good start, and we should have got to at least 210-220. That would have been a much better score.”
While the bowlers bowled more than 20 plus wides and no-balls, Garg did not think it could have been much different.
“I don’t think we could have done much different. For 178, we responded really well, and we lost this because we didn’t bat well enough. That’s about it. We enjoyed the World Cup. We played a series here too, and this was enjoyable too.”
(With PTI inputs)