Women cricketers face BCB scrutiny

Azad Majumder | Published: 22:44, Mar 30,2020


A file photo shows Bangladesh women’s cricket team players pose for a group photo in front of Dhaka Club. — BCB photo

In a welcome news for country’s women cricketers, the Bangladesh Cricket Board on Monday announced a one-time financial grant for all players who participated in National Cricket League and had been in selection camps for the outgoing season.

But it gives the female cricketers no leeway from getting scrutinised for their performance in recent competitions and an internal grouping that has allegedly affected their results.

A senior BCB official said on Monday that they will soon sit with the team management and coaching staff to review that team’s performance in ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

Bangladesh failed to win a single match in the competition, held from February 21 to March 8, and gave away their advantages on couple of occasions.

Bangladesh lost to India by 18 runs in their first match before getting hammered by Australia by 86 runs. They bowled out New Zealand for 91 runs in their third match to raise hope for a win only to be folded for 74 runs.

The team had the chance to still end the competition on a high when they faced Sri Lanka in their final match, but they could score only 91 runs against the familiar opponents before suffering a nine-wicket loss.

‘Our girls had developed a winning habit, but somehow they looked disoriented in this tournament,’ said BCB’s women’s committee chairman Shafiul Alam Nadel.

‘We lost two very close matches. It can happen in sports but sometimes it looked like we failed to do what we could have done.

‘We will take the reports from coaches and manager. We have our own observations too. We will dig deep into the matter,’ he said. ‘We were planning to act on that but under the current circumstance we had to hold back.’

Despite the ongoing stalemate due to global coronavirus pandemic, the BCB faces a race to put things in order for the women’s team as they are scheduled to play in women’s World Cup qualifying round in Sri Lanka in July.

Bangladesh is also scheduled to host Women’s Asia Cup in September, where they have the pressure to defend the title they won two years ago in Kuala Lumpur.

Though Bangladesh got some occasional success after their unexpected Asia Cup triumph everything was not very rosy for the side in the past two years.

Many BCB insiders suggested that the team clearly has two groups with Indian coach Anju Jain ostensibly backing one, leaving a few senior players like skipper Salma Khatun on the opposite camp.

Salma’s performance in the recent years also did not help her cause as she lost control of the dressing room despite being captain of the side for years.

She took 37 wickets in 46 Twenty20 internationals in the past four years as an off-spinner but could not justify her role as an all-rounder having scored only 105 runs at an average of 6.56 during this period.

Things were no better in one-day internationals, where she is no longer captain but continued to play as an all-rounder. In the last four years, the 29-year old cricketer scored just 124 runs and took 16 wickets in 16 ODIs.

With her fielding also getting sub-par many in the team wanted Salma to be replaced as captain to give the team management fair chance to consider her selection.

An insider familiar with the matter suggested the BCB on Monday to name wicketkeeper-batter Nigar Sultana as the new women’s Twenty20 captain though he was in favour of retaining Salma as bowler.

Women’s wing chairman Nadel said they are also looking to appoint a selector for women’s team for its smooth functioning.

Former national cricketer Javed Omar, who was the manager of women’s team in the last series, acted as a defacto selector along with head coach Jain in the recent time.

Speaking to New Age, Javed said on Monday that he was comfortable with his present role and did not give a thought of working permanently as the selector-cum manager.

‘I am happy with how I am working. But I think this team has a lot of room for improvement,’ he said.

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