Uphill task for Tigresses

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Bangladesh’s women’s side face an extremely difficult ICC World Twenty20 campaign in India next month after being pitted in a group that includes the three best T20 teams in world cricket at the moment — India, West Indies and England.

Currently ranked 10, the Bangladesh women’s cricket team has a lot of catching up to do. Because of their lowly ranking they barely get to play their desired number of international fixtures, which is one vital aspect in which they are behind most of their competitors.

However, talking to Bangladeshi skipper Jahanara Alam, who recently took over from Salma Khatun, one gets the feeling that she is not at all bothered by these statistics.

Jahanara is proud of her team and believes that the women in green can use this mega event to show the world how much they have improved.

“When we played the last World Cup (2014), we played as the hosts. However, this time we qualified for this event and we are playing this event based on merit. So we are very confident,” said Jahanara, while referring to the qualifying tournament last year where Bangladesh reached the final and ensured a place in the final 10.

“Because we are not in the top eight we don’t get to play too many matches. The BCB [Bangladesh Cricket Board] tries very hard to arrange a few games for us, but the fact is that all the other boards are involved with the others, so there is nothing much we can do.

“So in this World Cup we need to show everyone that we have improved and at least improve our ranking to seventh or eighth,” said Jahanara.

The women’s side will play two practice matches ahead of the World Cup, after which they will start their campaign against favourites India in Bengaluru on March 15. Two days later they will face England in the same city. They will then travel to Chennai to play the West Indies before going to Delhi to face Pakistan.

More than anything, the biggest gain for the side would be the huge amount of experience that they will attain by playing so many matches in the next month.

Despite the lack of practice matches, Jahanara reckons her team is ready for the big game.

“I won’t say the kind of practice that we have done is enough, but we have been given excellent facilities and with the two matches we will play prior to the World Cup, we should be ready in due time,” she said.

This will be the first time Jahanara will be leading the side in a major event and it was clear that she was quite excited about it.

“It is obviously a great experience to lead the side. But I won’t say that this is an extra pressure because all the players in our side are seniors and you can say that they are all captains. I just have to give the right instruction at the right time and the rest follows,” she said.

Jahanara ended the press conference on the same note as she began: with confidence. In her ending statement she indicated that she expected the country to support the women’s team as much as the men’s side.

“Cricket is cricket, be it the men’s team or the women’s team. Everyone in the country expects us to do well and we actually believe that we can.”

Source: The Daily Star

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