The ongoing 8th edition of the T20 Asia Cup tournament marked its return after four years of absence. The tournament this time around is featuring 7 teams and have the defending champions, Bangladesh, as the host. Mr Nazmul Hasan, President of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) in his conversation with CricBuzz has accepted not recognizing women’s cricket as a failure.
Mr Nazmul Hasan said, “The girls are playing good cricket for a long time and it is our failure that we are not recognizing them and paying attention to them. If we see world ranking we are probably at the ninth position and Ireland, Scotland, Thailand, and Zimbabwe are below us. They are all quite close as far as strength is concerned and because they played the last edition of the World Cup there was apprehension that it might be a tight game, but it was quite pleasing to see the way they played and the confidence they carried (against Thailand).
Bangladesh in the previous edition of the Asia Cup had handed a major upset to India by denying them a 7th straight title win in the tournament. Bangladesh at this year’s ongoing edition of the Asia Cup played the curtain raiser against Thailand and the game saw Bangladesh bowl Thailand out for 82 in 19.4 overs. Bangladesh in reply put on a commanding batting display that saw them get to the target effortlessly in 11.4 overs and for the loss of only a wicket to bag their first win off the first match.
Bangladesh are coming into the tournament on the back of fine form that was on display during the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates. In The recently concluded UAE Qualifier, Bangladesh played Ireland, Scotland and the United States of America in their league stage games and registered wins against all 3. With wins against Thailand in the semi-final and Ireland in the final, had an unbeaten run. Being one of the two finalists, Bangladesh have also confirmed a spot in the 10-team upcoming ICC Women’s T20 World Cup tournament.
“They were champions in the T20 WC qualifier and played the World Cup after getting over the qualifiers hurdle while they were champions in Asia Cup and unbeaten champion in SAAF games. They are playing well consistently and the biggest thing is that we are playing the same team (women) for last four years and eight or nine cricketers are fixed there,” Mr Nazmul added.
“Our first target is to play in the semi-final and later the final and we have the chance of playing in the final. Bangladesh is a good team but India have improved a lot and if you see India’s women’s team is very strong. Australia New Zealand and England are strong teams but India is beating them so taking that into consideration certainly they are far ahead. We have not played since the 2018 Asia Cup and we do have a chance (to prove our worth against India) now let’s see.”
Bangladesh are a side challenging the bests and there have been and will be days when they’ll successfully challenge top oppositions and go on to hand upsets, but for the same have got to come out of a bubble and play a lot of games. Bangladesh early this year were also a part of the ICC Women’s World Cup campaign, but post the tournament didn’t have an international game on the schedule and their very next tournament or series was the recently concluded T20 World Cup Qualifiers.
Bangladesh when won their maiden Asia Cup title back in 2018, the BCB along with top government officials had promised to back women cricketers. Infact, the state Minister for Youth and Sports, Biren Sikder, during the program welcoming the Bangladesh women’s team declared that a national cricket academy dedicated to the women’s side would be installed. Still, a reality check sees no such structure after 4 long years.
The Bangladesh women’s team gained a pay raise, but in a cricketing context haven’t come a long way ahead as they still lack an ‘A’ team. The side keeping in the mind the upcoming inaugural edition of the ICC Women’s U-19 T20 World Cup tournament have got a team in place that’ll serve as a bench strength for the side moving on until there are more ranks like ‘A’ or ‘Emerging’ sides to breach through.
(Quotes sourced from Cricbuzz)
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