‘Our target is to retain the trophy’
The eighth edition of the Women's Asia Cup begins today with defending champions and hosts Bangladesh taking on Thailand at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium in Sylhet.
The game is slated to begin at 9:00am before the opening day's second fixture sees India take on Sri Lanka from 1:30pm at the same venue.
Fresh off an imperious campaign in the 2023 World Cup Qualifiers in the UAE, the Tigresses will aim to defend the trophy they won by beating India in a close contest in Kuala Lumpur in 2018. Captain Nigar Sultana Joty said they were not taking any added pressure as hosts, but would like to make the most of playing at their 'home venue'.
"It's not a challenge [playing at home] to be playing at home. Our target is to go match by match. We are not going to nit-pick the opposition's strengths and weaknesses. If we can execute our plans, we don't have to worry about challenges," she said.
Teams such as India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan will once again prove to be the main obstacles to Tigresses defending the trophy, but the skipper believes her team has improved as well.
"Every team has improved and so have we. We just want to maintain and go forward with our plans.
The women's [cricket team's] home venue is Sylhet, so of course we want to take advantage of that. Since the trophy belongs to us, we will try to defend it. The target is to retain the trophy," she said.
Medium pacer Jahanara Alam is set to feature in the tournament, having missed the World Cup qualifiers due to a hand injury, and Joty believed the pacer's experience would come in handy.
The weather at Sylhet has been pretty hot as teams gear up for the tournament, but Joty was not too concerned.
"We are not thinking of the weather. Since we played in Abu Dhabi, the temperature being high there provided us with good preparation. The good news is that no one faced pulled any muscles in that weather or had any other concerns which is a sign that everyone is fit," she concluded.