Mohammad Akbar Ali of Bangladesh is presented with the Player of the Match award from former South African cricketer Makhaya Ntini.
Akbar Ali is presented with the Player of the Match award from former South African cricketer Makhaya Ntini after the Cricket World Cup final Image Credit: ICC

Dubai: It’s not difficult to imagine the kind of frenzy that will be whipped up when the Bangladesh colts, the new Under-19 World Cup cricket champions, step down at the Shaikh Mujibur Rehman International Airport from South Africa.

The average cricket fan of Bangladesh is known to be often a bit of loose cannon — indulging in unwarranted outbursts against ‘big brothers’ India on the eve of any big game at the senior level.

Such passion tended to boil over among their players too when the Bangladesh players frequently went on an overt display of emotion in the final on Sunday — eventually ending with both teams getting involved in an altercation.

As early as in the second over of the match, India’s Divyaansh Saxena had tapped a ball back to bowler Tanzim Hasan Sakib, who picked it up and hurled it back, sending it flying not too far from the batsman’s head. It was followed by a bit of staring and mouthing-off and needed an intervention on the part of umpire.

When Yashasvi Jaiswal, the Man of the Tournament, left after topscoring for his team with 88, bowler Shoriful Islam couldn’t resist giving the Indian batter a bit of a send-off.

The ICC is understood to be taking the issue “seriously” ahead of a fuller update from match referee Graeme Labrooy.

However, in sharp contrast to them was skipper Akbar Ali, who showed a maturity far beyond his years when he kept his calm to score 43 off 77 deliveries to take his side over the line to win the Man of the Final award.

He endeared himself to cricket fans across the border when he apologised for his teammates’ behaviour after the match.

“What happened, it should not (have) happened,” Akbar said.

“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,” he added.

Ali became quite an iconic figure as after the match, it was reported in the Bangladesh media that the 18-year-old was battling mental trauma after losing his elder sister days back.

Akbar’s elder sister Khadija Khatun passed away while giving birth to twins, according to a report in leading Bangladesh daily ‘Prothom Alo’.

A staunch supporter of Akbar, the youngest of four brothers and a sister, she had watched her brother lead Bangladesh to a nine-wicket victory against Zimbabwe on January 18 in a Group C game of the World Cup.

Looking ahead at the kind of impact this success will leave on their country’s cricket, Utpal Shuvro, a leading cricket writer of Bangladesh and a former Sports Editor of ‘Pratham Alo’ told Gulf News: “It’s difficult to explain the feeling in words. The composure showed by them clearly shows they had the self belief — it should have a long term effect in Bangladesh’s cricket. This success came at a time when the senior team is going through a rough phase for long, definitely it will inspire them.”

— With inputs from agencies