2018 has been a year of fluctuating fortunes for the Bangladesh women's cricket team, with the Tigresses' Asia Cup triumph in June being a lofty peak and the disappointing show in the ICC Women's World T20 in West Indies the nadir.
Although the Tigresses' year started with a 5-0 hammering in the ODI series in South Africa, which was followed by a 3-0 thrashing in the T20Is by the hosts in May, their greatest achievement till date came the following month in June when the Tigresses defeated their mighty Indian counterparts by three wickets in the final of the Women's T20 Asia Cup and were crowned champions of Asia -- the first time that a Bangladesh cricket team, male or female, won a major trophy.
A 2-1 T20 triumph away against Ireland followed in the same month and the Tigresses then carried their good form into the ICC Women's World Twenty20 Qualifiers held in the Netherlands in July, when they qualified for the big event as champions.
However, they failed to emulate their summer successes during Pakistan's tour of Bangladesh in October as the hosts could only win the one-off ODI but ended up losing the T20I series 3-0.
It was in November that Bangladesh's performance hit rock-bottom as they were not able to register a single win in the ICC Women's World T20 in the West Indies, ending the year in the doldrums.
Most concerning was Bangladesh's disappointing showing with the bat in the World T20 as the Tigresses highest score of the tournament was a meagre 79 for five against South Africa.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board's women's cricket wing development manager Nazmul Abedin Fahim also identified batting failures as an issue, but also mentioned that it was not due to lack of practice or opportunities as they played plenty of cricket this year.
2018 was an exception in that regard, but the uncertainty about opportunities is set to return next year as only one series against Pakistan is slated, and other assignments are still in the planning stage.
“If we talk about the year overall, one thing our girls have achieved is that they showed they can play. And if we put in more effort we can bring more good results out of them. Winning the Asia Cup was a huge thing,” Fahim told The Daily Star yesterday.
Fahim said that there were huge changes in mentality among the players this year.
“In 2017 they did not have much idea about themselves and did not have any high hopes. This year their expectations increased after winning the Asia Cup. They were hurt when they could not perform in the World T20. Now they set higher goals and also get hurt if they fail to achieve them. But in 2017, they did not think like this.”
“Improvement in batting is very necessary. There have been improvements in their fitness and fielding while their understanding in bowling is better now.
“One thing that I want from them [in 2019] is for them to take responsibility for their improvement. Traditionally it is seen that the players always look to management for help, but I want them to motivate themselves for their personal development. We will definitely stay by their side but their own initiative is more important.”