Women cricketers finally get structure

Bangladesh players sing anthem before match. Photo: AFP

The Bangladesh national women's cricket are expected to get a roadmap and structure as the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the first-ever women's Future Tours Programme (FTP) yesterday.

Bangladesh will begin the third edition of the ICC Women's Championship in December this year when the Tigresses tour New Zealand for three ODIs and as many T20s.

The new FTP schedule will see the Bangladesh women's national team feature in 24 international matches in the three-year cycle which already began in May this year and will conclude after the ICC ODI World Cup in 2025.

A lack of international matches has been one of the biggest reason the national women's team has had to overcome as they develop as a team in world cricket, but the FTP ensures Bangladesh will have enough chances to prepare accordingly and improve their skills in both home and away conditions.

This is the first time that Bangladesh, and also Ireland, will be participating in the ICC Women's Championship, a 10-team competition that will determine qualification for the 2025 Women's ODI Cricket World Cup in India.

"It is definitely going to help us prepare accordingly since we now know when and where we are going to play for the next couple of years. We are going to play more matches in comparison to the past in the coming days and I think it is a positive side," former Bangladesh pacer Monjurul Islam, who is the only selector and also the team manager of the women's national team, told The Daily Star.

"But it is definitely also going to be a challenge for us at the same time and we will work to become a competitive team in world cricket in the coming days."

According to the new FTP, each team is set to play a total of eight three-match bilateral ODI series -- four at home and four away from home -- as part of the 2022-25 ICC Women's Championships.

Bangladesh will host the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in 2024 and it was learned that Bangladesh will also going to host the upcoming Asia Cup in October this year, continuing the Tigresses' busy international schedule.

After the tour to New Zealand in December, Bangladesh's next assignment will be away to Sri Lanka in January, 2023. The Tigresses will host India in June-July and Pakistan in October-November before capping the year off with an away tour to South Africa in December.

In 2024, Bangladesh will have two series, both at home, against Australia in March-April and Ireland in December. The Tigresses will then end the championship cycle with a tour away to the West Indies in January 2025.

A total of 301 international matches, including seven Test matches, 135 ODIs and 159 T20Is, will be played in the latest cycle.

Another one of the highlights of the women's calendar is England's next trip to Australia for a multi-format Ashes series. It will be a standalone series at the start of 2025, with the corresponding men's series coming later that year.