There is no denying the fact that mass people in our country still consider cricket as men’s game while women are considered as unfit for taking part in any such sport. But did you ever imagine that Bangladesh would win the Asia Cup this year? Even if you did, perhaps you staked all your hopes only on the male cricketers. Nevertheless, the women’s cricket team has brought the maiden Asia Cup home for the first time, rendering the whole nation a glorious moment of pride and joy. Indeed, Bangladesh’s women’s cricket team has gone against the tide to place their name in history by beating six times champion India in the final and winning the Asia Cup Trophy (a major trophy for the first time on behalf of Bangladesh in the international arena). However they won twice – first of all, they won against all those stereotyped ideas (such as cricket is not women’s cup of tea) and secondly, they overcame their fear to win against a comparatively stronger side like India.
Winning an international trophy was a quite unlikely thing for the women cricketers of Bangladesh for many reasons. Ours is a religious and patriarchal society where girls are not expected to pursue their career in athletics at all. This is why women playing sports in the playground receive more criticism than appreciation from the local community. Moreover, there is a lack of female sporting leagues and academies. So, many girls having good potential for sports have to give up pursing their ambition due to lack of playgrounds and limited opportunity. Lack of tournament sponsorship and meager amount of wages offered to the female cricketers are some other important issues that shatter many girls’ ambition to pursue career in sports. Thus women’s cricket as well as other female’s sports in the country has been ignored. Well, fighting against all odds, this year the female cricketers have been able to prove their potential and draw the attention of the whole nation.Indeed, winning against India is a historic triumph for us because it was not an easy sailing on the part of Bangladesh women’s team to win the trophy by beating India, the most dominating (women’s cricket) team of Asia. If we look back into the past of Bangladesh cricket, then we will see that the national men’s team went on to win the ICC Trophy in 1997 and for the first time qualified for the Cricket World Cup in 1999. And this time the team of Jahanara Alam (skipper of Bangladesh women’s cricket) opened a new chapter in the history of the country’s cricket not only by winning an international trophy but also by defeating a champion team.
To know how challenging it was to secure victory against India in two consecutive matches in a single tournament, we can have a glimpse into some details. Triumph against India was something beyond our imagination because the champion team India not only won the trophy of Asia Cup for six times but also for the fact that no team had ever been able to defeat India even in a single match in the last six editions of this tournament. Furthermore, the opponent team had a number of outstanding and world-famous cricketers such as Mitali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet and many others.
In the meantime, it should be mentioned that Nazmul Abedin Fahim, Banglaesh cricket Board’s women’s cricket wing development manager, played a vital role in framing and molding women’s cricket wing in the country. He said, “It was a huge triumph. We never thought this was even possible.” Then, the local coach also played an important role which deserves considerable appreciation. Selecting players without continuous district level tournament was undeniably a tough job. The local coach and their collective contributions to furnishing them were one of the crucial factors behind the cricketers’ success. For them, overcoming the obstacles while training up the players, convincing the parents to let their daughters play in international level cricket etc. really amounted to fighting a battle against a conservative society.
The whole nation became thrilled with joy and excitement after watching that our women cricketers won final match of the Asia Cup. While everyone is proud of this victory it has brought recognition for the women cricketers in the country whose cause has long been neglected. However this time the authorities have not only arranged a reception ceremony to welcome the team but also awarded them with two crore taka and taken initiative to raise their wages. So we can hope that this revolutionary change in women cricket will not only encourage BCB to patronize it but also change people’s attitude towards women’s participation in sports.