In this series, we take a closer look at the under-19 World Cup winners and see how they could fare in international cricket
It was the second over of the 2020 Under-19 World Cup final, Bangladesh U-19 skipper Akbar Ali handed the ball to right-arm seamer Tanzim Hasan Sakib. Sakib bowled a maiden but that was not what brought him the sudden spotlight. In the third ball of his over, he threw the ball at the stumps after Divyaansh Saxena blocked it back to him. Sakib's throw missed the stumps by quite some distance but Saxena's head? Only just. After completing the over without giving a single run, Sakib walked up to Saxena and threw some verbal volleys this time.
Throughout the match, Sakib continued to be aggressive towards the Indian batsmen. He and the other bowlers then halted the World Cup's most successful batting side for only 177 but apart from everything, Sakib's aggression caught everyone's eye.
While talking to The Business Standard (TBS), Sakib said that being aggressive made him a better bowler and helped him to do well. He also talked about that World Cup-winning feeling, the fame and what he was planning to do in the future.
"It is the dream of every player to become a World Champion. I can not say how I felt after winning because I don't remember anything. But it felt good when we returned to Bangladesh and received people's love as we realised that we achieved something big, we gifted the country something big. It was one of the best feelings of my life," Sakib explains how he felt after becoming world champions.
Sakib believes that the two-year-long process the BCB (Bangladesh Cricket Board) had in place for the under-19 team paid off as it gave them more time to gel as a unit and perform better in crunch moments.
"You have to go back a couple of years for the answer. If you look at the results of the series we played in this period, you will see why we hoped of being champions. Because we were successful everywhere. So, we had that belief or true confidence that we would become World Champions."
The fast bowler took seven wickets from six games and was a regular menace with the ball for the top-order batsmen. He carried out his duties with the ball and bowled with fire and aggression in the final of the tournament against India, which was arguably his best showing with the ball. He is happy with what he did, although he believes things could have been even better for him.
"All praises to Allah, I was content (with my performance). Maybe my target for the World Cup was not fulfilled but overall I contributed to the team's success. I am satisfied that I could execute the team's plan and I would say that I was happy with my performances," Sakib explained.
In a game where we are used to seeing fast bowlers being marginalised to give batsmen more room to breathe, the speedsters remain a blockbuster commodity. One thing that makes them so valuable is the aggression and fire they show and Sakib is no different.
"Definitely, aggression makes me a better bowler. Whenever I bowl aggressively, I believe that the batsman will not be able to hit me. This boosts me up. Whenever I am aggressive and say something to the batsman, I concentrate even more to bowl the next ball even better, so that I can show more aggression. Being aggressive boosts me up a lot," the fast-bowler explains.
With the President's Cup underway, cricket has finally returned to Bangladesh in the one-day format. But Sakib wants to establish himself as a Test bowler, an area where Bangladesh have been suffering badly: "I hope that my debut in the national team will be in Tests. For now, I want to gather experience by playing in the longer version domestic tournaments. I want to take my time before I step into the national side so that I don't have to look back after I get there."
Sakib has become a household name in his hometown of Sylhet and has really enjoyed the stardom and popularity that has come after winning the under-19 World Cup. He hopes to continue making his fans and followers proud of his performances.
"Definitely, I enjoy it. Because everyone from the place where I was brought up (Sylhet) knows me now. Many ask me about my whereabouts, which feels good. Then I get a better response in social media now and it feels great that nobody has given me any negative messages, rather everybody has been spreading positivity. I hope that this will continue," said Sakib.
While there were no standout performers for Bangladesh in the under-19 World Cup win, many of those players are expected to play for the national team and Sakib also believes that: "Nobody can say what is in the future for us. But I am hopeful that most of the players of our U-19 side will play for the national side. Because we all believe in hard work and possess that true confidence."