Maruf Mridha sat-1702717307725
Bangladesh players celebrates the wicket of Adarsh Singh of India during the Under-19 Asia Cup semi-finals in Dubai on Friday. Image Credit: Source: ACC

Dubai: Bangladesh have finally managed to overcome their mental block to beat India in the Asia Cup Under-19 semi-finals. Meticulous planning and the familiarity between the two sides could be attributed towards that success, but there is also an Indian hand in helping the Tigers achieve their goal and take a place in the final of the continental championship against the hosts UAE.

Former India opener Wasim Jaffer has been a batting consultant for the Bangladesh Under-19 team for the last couple of years and the 45-year-old’s knowledge on the Indian team and his invaluable inputs must have played a big role in Bangladesh defeating the Under-19 world champions.

Past experience

“I’ve got as much information as they have, but obviously, I know a little bit more about the Indian team. We played India in a quadrangular series just before coming here. So we played against these guys and the boys know about the Indian team and that experience has helped them,” Jaffer told Gulf News, refusing to take credit for his efforts.

Bangla batters-1702717310021
Ariful Islam and Ahrar Amin put on a match-winning partnership for Bangladesh against India. Image Credit: Source: ACC

“Overall, you need to play a good game, no matter how much information you have got. At the end of the day, you got to go out there and perform and the boys did that. They bowled really well with the new ball and obviously everyone else supported to dismiss this Indian team to 188, which is an excellent effort. Then to go out there when the team was in a bit of bother at three down for 32 and to stitch a partnership, Ariful getting 94 and Amin contributing 44, was game-winning effort for us. I am really happy and when you beat a team like India, it always gives you a lot of confidence.”

Winning mentality

Bangladesh Under-19 team have been making a steady progress for the last year or so, starting with a series win against Pakistan in One-Day Internationals and then drawing the Twenty20 series 1-1 and also the four-day match.

“Beating Pakistan in Pakistan is right up there in terms of job satisfaction. Proud of the boys on winning the ODI series 2-1, drawing T20 series 1-1, and batting over a day to draw the only Test,” Jaffer had tweeted then.

Jaffer elaborated on the team’s winning mentality against their bogey team India. “For Bangladesh, Indian team has been kind of a bogey team for them. Whenever they come against the Indian team, that mental block sometimes can create problems, but when you beat them in this kind of tournament, it always helps because they are in our World Cup group as well. This win will give the boys a lot of confidence,” said Jaffer, who has 1,944 Test runs to his credit.

Maruf Mridha of Bangladesh celebrates the wicket of Uday Saharan of India. Image Credit: Source: ACC

Three-pacer strategy

“We changed our game plan a little bit for the semi-finals against India. We were lucky to win the toss, but throughout the tournament we were playing with two seamers, in this game we went with three, knowing that this is a smaller ground where the spinners might not get a lot of help. So I thought that strategy probably helped. All the three fast bowlers bowled well and the initial spell of the two pacers proved crucial when we got the Indian team three down or four down for nothing. That made the difference,” he added.

With Bangladesh senior team not doing well, will these performances help these young talents stake a claim in the first team?

“Obviously, everyone wants to play at the top level. So a good performance in a semi-final or final always get highlighted, they all know that. They have put their hands up and we’ve got a few excellent performance. They’ve got another opportunity, which is always great,” he concluded.