Bangladesh Cricket Board’s plan to form the country’s first women’s Under-19 team was put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic and this pause in the team formation process was casting doubts over its successful completion.
The BCB was trying to find talented young female cricketers aiming at the inaugural ICC Women’s Under-19 World Cup, scheduled to take place in Bangladesh on January 2021, but the process hit a pause due to the pandemic.
The process of forming the women’s Under-19 team began last year, said BCB women’s wing coach Ruhul Amin, where the board searched across the country and shortlisted 24 promising cricketers.
‘Initially, we sought names of Under-18 cricketers from each district. Every district sent on an average five-seven names. Then in every division we had a three-day camp with players from the districts under the respective division,’ said Ruhul, who was extensively involved in the process as a coach.
‘From that camp we formed a divisional team. With eight divisional teams, we had a national Under-18 league at Mymensingh in November 2019. There each of the girls could play seven matches. Then from that tournament we spotted 40 talented young girls and brought them in a camp at Cox’s Bazar for a month [February-March].
‘After that camp, we prepared a list of 24 girls and submitted it to BCB but sadly we could not move on with them as the corona situation arose just few days after we finished the camp,’ he added.
Ruhul also claimed that the board was thinking beyond the Under-19 team as they wanted to bring in some fresh faces in the national team set-up, which hasn’t seen many changes since its inception in 2011.
Bangladesh women’s national team played their international match in 2011 during the ICC women’s World Cup qualifier in Dhaka and the initial team was drafted with female athletes who used to play others sports.
‘Even before there was any proposal for women’s Under-19 World Cup, BCB director Ismail Haider Mallick consulted me about how to inject some fresh blood in women’s cricket as many of the cricketers were playing for many years.’
Although the process was currently at a pause, BCB’s women’s wing in-charge Tawhid Mahmood assured that it will eventually resume.
‘As all sporting activities are on hold, the women’s Under-19 team activities are also on hold. When normal cricket operation resumes, their activities will resume too.’
Sanjida Akhter Meghla, a BKSP student who was selected for the camp in Cox’s Bazar told New Age that she was still hopeful about the Under-19 World Cup.
‘As the World Cup is not officially postponed yet, I am really hopeful. I would like to use the Under-19 World Cup as a platform for national team.’
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