My ODI debut was in 1988 and I played in the ICC Trophy in 1990, 1994 and 1997, with the last event earning us qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999. The Bangladesh cricket team was under tremendous pressure to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999 in 1997 as it had narrowly missed the opportunity in Holland in 1990 and in Kenya in 1994. In Malaysia in 1997, Bangladesh had an experienced, mature side that had prepared.
The experience of playing the ACC Trophy in Malaysia in 1996 was a major advantage. Bangladesh not only won the trophy in that tournament, it also took away the coach of Malaysia at that time Gordon Greenidge! Domestic cricket in Bangladesh at the time was very competitive and rich. Wasim Akram, Arjuna Ranatunga, Sanath Jayasuriya, and Neil Fairbrother were just a few among the many foreign players in the Bangladesh domestic league.
Doing well alongside and against these international stars gave tremendous encouragement and experience to the local players.
Bangladesh qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999 very comfortably and that triggered celebration as if we had won the tournament proper. In 26 years as a nation, this victory gave an international standing and recognition to the people. The nation celebrated and enjoyed this victory wholeheartedly. A special jet carried the cricket heroes back to Bangladesh and the Prime Minister gave a massive reception in parliament.