Tigresses’ future in jeopardy
"If you ask me in one word, the situation is bleak. Much like the present scenario, our future also looks uncertain," a member of the Bangladesh national women's cricket team, while requesting anonymity, expressed her vulnerable state to The Daily Star as the women's cricket in the country suffered a heavy blow since the COVID-19 outbreak back in March last year.
After a majority of 2020 went without much action on the field, the Tigresses had anticipated a busy 2021, which was set to feature some competitive cricket.
However, with the current pandemic situation digressing from bad to worse, the government once again imposed a strict nationwide lockdown, putting all activities on hold.
The women's national team last took the field on March 2, 2020, during the Tigresses' poor display in the ICC Women's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia. The women's team is slated to take part in the 2021 ICC Women's World Cup qualifiers in Sri Lanka in November-December.
"We have a big hurdle in the form of the ODI World Cup qualifier in November and so we are planning to call for a residential camp once the situation improves. Like all other countries, I think we too lost the momentum due to the pandemic situation. Now keeping the World Cup in New Zealand in March next year in mind, our plan is to arrange as many matches, both local and international series. We even had a few plans in store where we were in talk with the other boards but the pandemic has put everything to a standstill," said BCB women's wing manager Towhid Mahmood.
He further added that the trainers and coaches are providing continuous guidance to the players regarding maintaining fitness from home.
Members of the national team, under-19, and the Emerging team had taken part in the Bangladesh Games earlier in March this year. The following month in April, BCB hosted the South African Emerging team who played four one-dayers, however the fifth and final game had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. It was also the last time the Tigresses took the field and since then they have been agonizingly waiting to reappear on their hunting grounds again.
"To be honest, by sitting and doing nothing at home, it's getting more difficult with each passing day. Those who are under the central contract still get some financial support consistently but the rest of us are having a tough time in maintaining our livelihood. I heard many of the girls, who were not in the national pool of 30 to 35 cricketers, have decided to quit the game," said an aspiring female cricketer while requesting anonymity.
According to Towhid, BCB's women's wing is trying to arrange domestic competition once the situation improves considering the financial aspect of the cricketers in mind.
"Yes, the cricketers will benefit financially if we can start the domestic competition as soon as possible. But again, for that to happen, we need the situation to improve," Towhid said.