“None of the sides gold any grudges” says Nigar Sultana Joty ahead of T20I series against India

Bangladesh’s cricket captain, Nigar Sultana Joty, gears up to lead her team against Harmanpreet Kaur’s India in a five-match T20I series starting on April 28 and wrapping up on April 30th. All matches will be held at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, commencing at 3:30 PM local time.

"Bringing gold would be a big achievement," says skipper Nigar Sultana Joty ahead of Asian Games. PC: Getty
Nigar Sultana Joty

This series holds great importance for both teams as they aim to fine-tune their skills ahead of the forthcoming Women’s T20 World Cup, slated to be held later this year in Bangladesh. With memories of their previous encounters still fresh, India and Bangladesh are geared up to deliver enthralling performances, eager to capitalize on the momentum from their recent clashes.

Despite past controversies, Nigar emphasizes focusing on the upcoming challenges rather than dwelling on the past, stating, “It’s another opportunity for us to play against a good team.”

Reflecting on the recent tour against Australia, Nigar acknowledges the team’s struggles but highlights the positives, particularly the bowling unit’s resilience. With the T20 World Cup on the horizon, Nigar shoulders the responsibility of leading a young team, with an average age of 23.6. Reflecting on recent performances against Australia, she acknowledges the team’s struggles but highlights the positives, particularly the bowling unit’s resilience.

She remarks, “Individual performances were there, though. These players have been playing very well for the side for a long time.”

Nigar praises her bowling arsenal’s variety and the spirited performance of young bowlers like Marufa Akter and Fariha Trisna, who impressed even against formidable opponents like Australia. However, she acknowledges the need for improvement in batting consistency, stressing the importance of handling pressure in tough situations.

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She commented, “I have left-arm spin, leg spin, and two good young fast bowlers.”

As one of the team’s most consistent batters, Nigar feels the weight of expectation but embraces the challenge, recognizing the need to lead by example. She highlights her efforts to foster a positive team environment, breaking down barriers between senior and junior players, and maintaining open communication. Despite the pressures of leadership, Nigar finds support from her family and is proactive about mental well-being, participating in mindfulness sessions to manage stress and negativity. She anticipates challenges in the upcoming series against India, particularly due to the hot and humid conditions in Sylhet.

She mentioned, “Right before coming to Sylhet, we had a session dedicated to mindfulness. It was a two-hour session on stress management.”

Nigar looks forward to renewing acquaintances with Harmanpreet Kaur and plans to present her with a special gift, showcasing the camaraderie between the teams. She acknowledged the growing popularity of women’s cricket in Bangladesh and hopes for increased support from fans, both at the stadium and through digital platforms.

She stated, “I was telling my players that I want to give Harman something, what should I give? So we’re brainstorming to see what to give. We want to give Harmanpreet the best gift.”

Nigar encapsulates the burgeoning interest in women’s cricket, portraying a gradual but noticeable rise in its fanbase. Despite modest crowds, the steadfast support from enthusiasts is evident, with even those unable to attend matches in person tuning in via live streams. She acknowledged the proactive promotion through billboards, videos, and social media by the board indicates a concerted effort to expand the sport’s reach. Furthermore, she highlighted the symbiotic relationship between performance and attendance, suggesting that success on the field could further fuel the growth of women’s cricket by attracting larger audiences.

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As the first T20I approaches, Nigar remains focused on leading her team to success while nurturing young talent and building a strong foundation for Bangladesh cricket’s future.

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