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Women cricketers at crossroad

Shams Rahman
15 Sep 2021 00:33:02 | Update: 15 Sep 2021 00:33:02
Women cricketers at crossroad
A file photo showing Bangladesh women cricketers Rumana Ahmed, Jahanara Alom and Sanjida Islam celebrate during a match of ICC World T20. – Courtesy Photo

Bangladesh women’s cricket team is waiting at an important crossroad which could lead them into a busy schedule in the future if they can finish among top five in the Women’s World Cup qualifier in November.

The International Cricket Council is increasing the number of teams from eight to 10 in the next cycle of Women’s Championship, where these teams will feature in the ‘Future Tours Programme’ for women’s cricket. Getting a spot in the FTP will ensure that Bangladesh women’s national team an abundance of matches starting from next year.

To date, there have been no FTP for women’s cricket from ICC, but after the one-day internationals World Cup in New Zealand next year, the global administrator of the game will launch one like the one existing in men’s cricket.

The FTP or the ICC WomenTs Championship will have 10 teams in it- the five ¬- Australia, India, England, New Zealand and South Africa - already qualified for the World Cup and the other five will come from the World Cup Qualifiers at Zimbabwe in November-December

To qualify for the women’s FTP in the next cycle, Bangladesh must finish at least fifth in the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers.

The World Cup qualifiers will see Bangladesh compete with West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Ireland, along with five regional champions. The five regional champions are- Zimbabwe from Africa, USA from Americas, Papua New Guinea from Asia East-Pacific, Netherlands from Europe and Thailand from Asia. From these six teams

A top-three finish from Bangladesh would see them qualified for the World Cup, and if they finish in the top five, they will be included in ICC’s next cycle of FTP, Bangladesh Cricket Board’s women’s wing manager Towhid Mahmood told The Business Post.

“The top three teams there will qualify for the 2022 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand. The 4th and 5th team will join the women’s FTP, which will start in April/May next year,” he said.

The BCB is currently trying to make sure that the cricketers have enough match practise going into the qualifiers. The women’s team will also arrive in Zimbabwe a week before the qualifiers to adapt themselves there.

“We will go to Zimbabwe a week ahead of the qualifiers to adapt ourselves to the conditions and play a three-match ODI pre-series vs Zimbabwe,” he said.

He also explained the immense importance of Bangladesh qualifying for the FTP as that would ensure Bangladesh getting enough games over the next four years.

“The World Cup qualifiers are a very crucial event for us. We are trying our best to keep this in our focus. Because if our team can qualify for the FTP, then we will get a lot of matches in home and away format and our development will be smooth. The players will get an added motivation to perform well and keep themselves fit. That is why we are trying to ensure that they have continuation leading up to the qualifiers and they have no lack in preparation,” he said.

To ensure their continuation, BCB arranged a one-day series between Bangladesh women’s emerging team and South Africa women’s emerging team in April, where the national team players were picked for the emerging side.

Four out of the five matches were played before the government-imposed lockdown saw the last match abandoned. Bangladesh had won all four matches by then.

After that, the national team, High-Performance team and Under-19 team players were brought in for a camp before the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Games. The cricket event of the Bangladesh Games was supposed to be Twenty20s, but keeping in mind the World Cup Qualifiers, it was converted to one-dayers with permission from Bangladesh Olympic Association.

Then after a long break due to religious events and lockdown, the cricketers were brought in for a 17-day camp at BKSP. After the camp, the players were split into four teams and played in a zonal tournament. The final of the tournament was held on Saturday.

Salma Khatun-led Souther Squad won the tournament with the all-rounder adjudged player of the series for her ten wickets. Nigar Sultana Jyoti was the highest run-scorer with 181 runs.