‘A respectable step forward’
Prior to the start of the home series against a strong India side, women's cricket in Bangladesh was still searching for a big break to showcase what the team was capable of.
Despite losing the T20I series with a game in hand, the team bounced back superbly and showed great character to clinch the third T20I by four wickets as belief started to grow among Nigar Sultana Joty and Co.
Exciting young pacer Marufa Akter was in her full force in the first ODI, picking up four wickets to help the Tigresses clinch their maiden win against India in the fifty-over format by 40 runs in a rain curtailed encounter through DLS method.
The win came as a huge morale-boost for the women in red and green, and despite the comprehensive defeat in the second ODI, the hosts showed great character in the third and series-deciding affair.
Fargana Hoque Pinky wrote a piece of history by smashing the first ODI ton for Bangladesh in women's cricket, helping the hosts post their second highest total of 225 for four. And then just as India looked headed for a comfortable win, the Tigresses again bounced back to tie the game and share the series.
According to Joty, the series has given Bangladesh women's cricket a respectful a step forward. The skipper said that the players were able to grab the spotlight – the spotlight that was never on them before.
"I am not entirely happy since I thought we could have done better. But it was pleasing to see how the members of the board backed us and said positive things. I am happy to see how the fans and media came in and supported and promoted us, so overall I am happy," Joty told the media after the game.
"I always wanted this team to take one step forward and I think we have taken a respectable step forward after this series. There were many who didn't know us, apart from one or two players. At least those people now recognise who is Nahida, Pinky or Marufa. So, I think this is an achievement since the people of Bangladesh now know who plays in the women's team," she added.
Although there were many positives to take for the Tigresses from both the T20I and the ODI series, the 25-year-old was not fully satisfied and wants further improvement in the coming days.
"Definitely I am not satisfied as we couldn't win the series, we just levelled. But I would say we rectified few mistakes from the other day and it was good today. We could have done better in the second game, but yes, there are many areas for us to learn and if we can rectify those mistakes, I think we will be able to play better cricket in the coming days," said Joty.
Chairman of the BCB's women's wing, Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel, felt that the success was the reflection of the support provided by the board.
"We are very happy as we have seen Pinky scoring a maiden hundred for Bangladesh in ODI format and I think it's a stepping stone for women's cricket in the country. The board president provided all the necessary support and we have increased the salary and match fees, so the board is always behind the players and is continuing to provide facilities," said Nadel.