Jahanar Alam, Rumana Ahmed, Salma Khatun, Nigar Sultana, Naheeda Akhtar are those few names in Bangladesh that are giving hope to the entire nation. Bangladesh has been a nation of crazy cricket followers. The followers who are never bothered about right or wrong and always backing its cricket team. They have always showered love to its men cricketers. And now the girls are asking for the deserving support not only from their country but from the whole cricket fraternity around the globe.
You may call it a fairy-tale or a revolution in disguise, Salma and co. are constantly challenging the experts and creating records every alternate day. No one could expect them to win the Asia Cup and that too beating the six time champion India. The journey became interesting when they defeated Pakistan and India earlier in the tournament. And then they convinced everyone with their triumph at the final that they are here to stay. It was Bangladesh women’s first ever victory against India in any format. After ten consecutive loss against India in last twenty 20 matches it wasn’t easy to defeat the Indian cricket team.
The Tigresses still had a little to prove that being Asia champion wasn’t a fluke. So they didn’t stop. They continued to amaze everyone in qualifier for twenty 20 world cup that is going to be held in November, 2018 in West Indies. Panna Ghosh showed her brilliance and expertise with a 5 wicket haul against Ireland in the qualifier final match against Ireland. She took 5 wickets just for 16 runs even after playing just one match in preceding Asia Cup.
Their path was never easy. They have only 20% winning percentage from the 35 One Day International they have played since 2010. Bangladesh Women’s team gained their ODI status in 2010 by beating USA during the World Cup Qualifier in Bangladesh. In their first official ODI they beat Ireland convincingly by the margin of 82 runs. Their performance improved in T20 with 17 wins out of 51 matches they have played however the more high profile victories came recently in last 2-3 months with Asia Cup and World T20 qualification.
It wasn’t easy to play cricket from a nation where females hardly get any recognition. Playing cricket is like ‘wasting talent’. But these girls never bothered because their love for cricket was genuine. Rumana Ahmed, Salma Khatun, Jahanara Alam- these three players have appeared in almost all the matches played by Bangladesh women’s cricket team and contributed as strongest pillars.
In one interview Rumana mentioned how she started training much later after her school final examination. After losing father at young age with three siblings at home, nothing could really stop her to get training for cricket. Rumana Ahmed proved why her selection for WBBL in Australia was spot on! Her experience and skill helped Bangladesh to gain the much awaited win over India and thus win the Asia Cup 2018.
The story is almost same for Salma Khatun and Jahanara Alam. Ranked 10th in the T-20 international all rounder list this year, Salma Khatun has always been one of the top all-rounders of the format. Watching her maternal uncles playing cricket in her childhood, she started loving the game and played whenever she got a chance. She, as expected was teased by neighbors for playing such a ‘boy game’. After her debut in 2006 she never looked back. The right arm off break bowler cum right handed batter led Bangladesh to win the Asia cup recently.
Despite of being discouraged by everyone around her, Jahanara Alam kept following her idol Mashrafe Mortaza. The right arm medium fast bowler dropper her school board examination for cricket. Recently Jahanara took the first ever five wicket haul in twenty 20 international cricket for her country.
One of the main pillars behind this rise of the tigresses has to be Anju Jain. Anju was a major contributor for Indian women’s cricket team and led the team in 2000 world cup to reach the final. She started her international coaching career with Bangladesh team in May and in just few days started to show the difference. Her faith in the team and strategy of taking one game at a time is what making the tigresseses roar. Not to forget valuable contributions from Assistant Coach Devieka Palshikar and Physio Anuja Dalvi Pandit who are working tirelessly in a foreign land to ensure Bangladesh win every match.
Also Read: Interview with Devieka Palshikar : An Aspiring CA student turned into a Cricket Coach
On field Bangladesh Women’s cricket team is doing everything right at the time. They just need to continue the momentum in the upcoming twenty 20 world cup. They also have to show same consistency in ODI as well. According to Anju Jain the board is giving the required support. Funding is a problem but cannot be an excuse! By now we all know about Muslim Uddin, an assistant coach of Bogra Cricket Association who turned a toilet into his office and is running this camp for last 11 years. Now it’s time for the nation to cheer for the girls off the field. Let’s not forget Bangladesh men’s cricket team has never won the Asia Cup. Let’s not get into argument who deserves what and how much but it’s high time to awake and show faith to the women counterpart. Let the passion ignite because no matter what, the tigresseses are here to stay and conquer!