Joty and Co appear confident to cross the Qualifier hurdle
Bangladesh appear confident to book their place in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup next year by finishing as the top team in the four-team group in its Qualifier tournament, scheduled to be held in the UAE from September 18 to 25.
The Tigresses are pitted in the same group with Ireland, USA and Scotland. Bangladesh captain Nigar Sultana Joty considers Ireland to be the strongest opposition among the lot but remains confident to edge past the Irish hurdle.
"First we have to make sure that we qualify. And must admit that Ireland are a very strong side, but if you look into their records against us, the wins are few and so we are favourites in that regard. And team-wise, we have been playing for a long time, and if we can play to our potential and with consistency, provided the batters perform well, then I think we will be the favourites," the Bangladesh captain said of their chances against Ireland and on overall qualification during a press conference in Mirpur today.
Joty's words were resonated by the Former Bangladesh cricketer and women's team's chief selector, Manjurul Islam.
"Of course we are hopeful to qualify for the T20 World Cup with the team at our disposal," said the chief selector.
On preparation ahead of Qualifiers
The weather in the UAE would be a big challenge for all teams, according to Joty.
"We have recently seen in the men's Asia Cup that the weather over there [in UAE] is really terrible. Ireland, being a cold weather-based country, of course, will arrive from a completely different weather but still we have to adapt as well. And that's why the board has taken the decision to let us travel there earlier so that we can acclimatise better."
The chief selector summarised the tactical preparation that the Tigresses underwent at home ahead of the Qualifiers.
"It is right that we did not play for a long time [due to the coronavirus pandemic]. However, domestically of late, we have taken a lot of preparation with T20 cricket in mind, from featuring T20s in NCL, instead of one-dayers, to playing four T20 games during the seven-day camp in Sylhet with the aim to work on game-scenarios presented by the format," said Manjurul.
On reasons to call up Marufa but to drop Suriya and Fariha
Right-arm pacer Marufa Akter, who came in the place of Suriya Azmin, was the only new face in the Nigar Sultana Joty-led side, where Jahanara Alam also made her return to the team to replace Fariha Islam Trishna.
The reporters at the press conference asked both Manjurul and Joty regarding Marufa's inclusion.
Manjurul said, "We considered the upcoming tournament to be the best platform to give opportunities to new faces, not name-wise but based on their performance.
"And she [Marufa] is a performer. If you look at the Premier League, she was the best performer, and in NCL she was the second-highest wicket-taker. And apart from her bowling, if you look into Marufa's batting profile, she fits the bill as a batter in the number six-seven position in T20 cricket.
"So we have chosen her as the most suitable player to take the place of Suriya and Trishna, who are likely to feature in the Asia Cup to be held in Bangladesh later [after the Qualifiers]."
Joty also brought up Marufa's superior fielding skills and the ability to perform as a team player.