'We must salute their struggle'
"No doubt, this success has made everyone happy and brought about an early Eid celebration in the country, but to me it's a different feeling," Imtiaz Hossain, popularly known as Pilu and someone who has been working closely with women cricketers at the grassroots level since 2006 in Khulna, said after the Bangladesh women's team's glorious success in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
"It's special to me not because a number of my students are now representing this team -- as you know Khulna is a hub of providing women's cricketers for the national side -- but the struggle these players overcame to bring such a success," he continued.
"One cannot imagine what kind of social and financial difficulties they had to face to become a cricketer. Except Rumana, everybody has a unique story of financial struggle. Many, including captain Salma [Khatun] have to look after their families from their cricket earnings but they have been getting little from the authorities. Today, I am reminded of all the struggle they had to go through. They are still not well off but their passion for cricket is really amazing. When we celebrate today's success, we must salute their struggle also," Imtiaz added.
"Don't forget their parents, who were brave enough to encourage their girls to play cricket in a society where it's difficult for even a boy to take it up as a profession. I want to salute those brave hearts who showed a lot of patience to encourage their girls."
He also informed that Salma had talked with him over the phone before yesterday's match and that he was amazed by the skipper's determination.
"She was very confident and I just told her that there was nothing to lose for them, but there was a lot to be achieved," he concluded.