English National

Akbar pledges to be away from stardom

BSS, DHAKA: Bangladesh captain Akbar Ali who led the young Tigers to create a slice of history by winning the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup pledged to keep the feet in the ground and not let the stardom effect to occupy them.

The Under-19 team was given a hero’s welcome as they arrived in the country on Wednesday as thousands of people received them with utmost passion, screaming Bangladesh, Bangladesh or Akbar the Great.

They in fact became instant hero after beating India by three wickets in a rain-affected final and huge plaudits poured on them. The way the people went crazy about them, it is believed it would be tougher for them to keep the feet in ground, specially at such tender age.

Akbar is termed as ‘Akbar the Great’ and even was compared to former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who built his reputation as world’s best finisher.

But Akbar spoke on this issue with the serenity with which, he played a masterful 43 not out under tremendous pressure to help the side sail the home.

“People can tell or tag us what they wish but we are not giving this a thought. It’s exaggerated to compare me with Dhoni. What Dhoni did is amazing but I am yet to start my career. At this phase, it is not a right thing to compare me with him,” Akbar said after he and his side was received by the people and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) with huge applause. “What we did is great and it could be stepping stone for Bangladesh’s future success but it is important to keep up this hard work.”

“We know it’s just the beginning and we have to go a long way to make us proper star. It’s not that we achieved everything. We have a mile to go,” he added.

He vowed that the stardom effect not to affect the whole team.

“We are not stars. There is onus on us to take the Bangladesh cricket team one step more. The likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim took the side a new height. We are carrying their legacy and it is our duty now to contribute more for Bangladesh cricket. We are very careful of not letting the stardom effect to occupy us at this moment,” he revealed.

The BCB president Nazmul Hassan Papon said that the board has taken various steps to protect them from the stardom effect.

“They are given the necessary advice as to how they could protect them from stardom. They warned of not feeling them something very big. They would have to keep their feet ground,” he said.

“Obviously what they did was amazing and no one could do in Bangladesh’s sports history, what they did. But they have a long way to go,” he concluded.

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