Akbar Ali battles mental trauma of sister’s demise to take Bangladesh home in U19 WC Final

Akbar Ali battles mental trauma of sister’s demise to take Bangladesh home in U19 WC Final

Akbar's family refrained from informing him since they didn't want Akbar to lose focus.

Akbar Ali Bangladesh U19
Akbar Ali. (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

On Sunday, February 10, Akbar Ali, the captain of the Bangladesh U19 team, was in for probably his most challenging task on the field. Even as taking his team to a win against India in the final of the U19 World Cup was his priority, he was waging a battle of mental trauma as well. On January 22, Akbar’s elder sister Khadija Khatun passed away while giving birth to twins.

She had watched Bangladesh’s Group C match against Zimbabwe where the Tigers won by nine wickets in a rain-curtailed affair. But she couldn’t watch her beloved brother lift the trophy on Finals day. Akbar is the youngest among his four brothers and sisters. Akbar’s family didn’t inform him about her sister’s demise as they didn’t want the youngster to lose focus.

She loved Akbar a lot, says Akbar Ali’s father

However, it didn’t take much time for Akbar to get to know about the horrific development. Akbar was faced with the news after Bangladesh’s abandoned game against Pakistan due to rain. Subsequently, he questioned his brother about why he wasn’t informed earlier.

“Akbar was closest to his sister. She loved Akbar a lot,” Akbar’s father was quoted as saying in Bengali daily Prothom Alo. “We did not want to inform him at first. He then called after the Pakistan match and questioned his brother why he was not kept in the loop. I did not have the courage to talk to him. I don’t know what to say,” he added.

Despite the blow, Akbar didn’t get unnerved on the big stage. Rather, he became the Man of the Match in the Final at the Senwes Park in Potchefstroom. The right-hander scored 43 runs at a stage when Ravi Bishnoi was running through the Bangladesh batting order with sheer ease. Akbar saw wickets falling in heaps, but didn’t lose his cool by any means.

After the mini-collapse, Akbar along with an injured Parvez Hossain Emon resurrected the innings for Bangladesh. When the Tigers needed 15 runs, rain interrupted, but Akbar came back and took his team over the line. He was also vocal behind the stumps, constantly guiding his bowlers to hit the right channels.