The current picture is not an encouraging one that can inspire girls to take up cricket as a profession. In terms of money and opportunities of international and domestic commitments, the country's female cricketers are lagging far behind the men. Still, some have braved all the difficulties to establish a tradition of women's cricket in Bangladesh. With such a discouraging backdrop, the Bangladesh women's cricket team are going to enjoy an unprecedented number of international engagements that will no doubt serve them well in the long run, regardless of results.
The team will leave Dhaka on April 28 to play five ODIs and three T20Is in South Africa, following which they are scheduled to play the Asia Cup in June in Malaysia. They will then embark on a 10-day tour of Ireland, after which they will fly to the Netherlands to play the ICC World T20 qualifiers. If they manage to qualify they will go to the West Indies to play the ICC World T20 in November.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) announced a 30-member preliminary squad for the South Africa tour and the camp will start from April 12 in Sylhet. The second-string women's team visited India in December last year and for the last few months, the cricketers took part in the premier division, first division and national leagues as well as playing a tournament in Lalmonirhat sponsored by Rupali Bank. The BCB women's cricket wing development manager Nazmul Abedin Fahim has been taking care of the women's cricketers for the last few months in the absence of head coach David Capel, who has been working on an assignment basis.
Englishman Capel, who was appointed in October 2016, will arrive in Dhaka today to take charge of the camp.
“It is really good news for the women cricketers as they are going to play a number of international matches this year. Since I am closely working with them, I felt that the situation is not that encouraging for them to take it up as a profession. Only a few cricketers have been given central contracts and for the rest there is no scope to earn money, so parents are not too interested to encourage their daughters to play cricket. Therefore, it's important to look at this issue,” said Fahim.
17 women cricketers are not centrally contracted and their salaries range between Tk 10,000 and Tk 30,000 (only four or five avail the high-end) per month. Crucially, the match fees in different international and domestic competitions are very nominal.
The BCB women's cricket wing chairman Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel also admitted that they have to look at the financial issue of the women cricketers. “Yes, they have very limited scope to earn money and what we are providing is not sufficient. We will take some measures regarding this issue within this year,” said Nadel while talking to reporters at Mirpur yesterday.
Jahanara Alam, Rumana Ahmed, Nigar Sultana Joty, Fargana Hoque Pinky, Khadiza-Tul Kubra, Fahima Khatun, Lily Rani Biswas, Ayasha Rahman, Nahida Akter, Panna Ghosh, Suraya Azmim, Jannatul Ferdous Sumona, Sarmin Sultana, Sobhana Mostary, Salma Khatun, Sanjida Islam, Lata Mondol, Shaila Sharmin, Murshida Khatun, Sharmin Akter Supta, Shaima Sultana, Ritu Moni, Suborna Islam, Puza Chakroborty, Sultana Khatun, Shanu Akhter, Rupa Roy, Sabekun Nahar Jesmin, Tazia Akhter and Happy Alam.