Akbar had always wanted to be a cricketer. He realised his father could hardly afford to buy him a bat, ball, gloves, pads and other equipment. Putting him and his four siblings through school itself was a struggle. But not one to give up his dream so easily, Akbar went to the Asim Memorial Cricket Academy in Rangpur. He was a student of Class 6 at the time.
A trainer at the academy, Anjan Sarkar sensed Akbar’s determination and bought him all the equipment he needed. And practice began. Akbar threw himself heart and soul into the training and practice, and today he stands on top of the world. He is the captain of the Bangladesh team that recently won the 2020 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
Anjan Sarkar said, when Akbar got admitted to Class 6 at the the Lion’s School and College in Rangpur, he came to the Rangpur Zila School field. He wanted to get admitted to the cricket academy but couldn’t even afford the Tk 100 admission fees. Then one of his relations, Altaf Hossain, paid the fee and the academy didn’t take any money for Akbar’s training. Akbar would walk to the Zila School field every day from his house in Jummapara. It is a matter of pride to see Akbar at the top of the world now, says Anjan Sarkar.
Akbar lives with his parents and four siblings in a very simple old three-roomed home in West Jummapara of Rangpur town. His father Mohammad Mustafa runs a small general store in the town. When asked how he felt about his son’s achievement, he said, “I have no words to express my joy. So much happiness despite so much sorrow.”
Akbar’s only sister, Khadija Khatun, recently passed away, bringing grief to the family. It was on 22 January when Akbar was leading his team in South Africa that his sister passed away, but Akbar pushed on with the game, containing the sadness in his heart. His mother Shahida Begum said, Khadija would have been so happy to see hear about her brother.
Akbar took part in the Dinajpur BKSP camp thrice in 2012. In 2013 he was admitted to BKSP in Dhaka and played in the Under-16, 17 and 18 teams for BKSP. After completing his secondary and higher secondary schooling in BKSP, Akbar is now studying BBA at a private university in Dhaka.
* This report has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir