From Hamdu Miah to Nahida’s father | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 14, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:40 AM, October 14, 2020

From Hamdu Miah to Nahida’s father

While male cricketers have returned to training with some form of cricket scheduled for the coming days, the same cannot be said about women cricketers as the Bangladesh Cricket Board is yet to schedule a series for the Tigresses in the pandemic era. Since the halt in cricketing activities, The Daily Star has been talking to women cricketers to learn stories of their early days. In today’s instalment, we talk to Nahida Akter, a left-arm spinner who represented Bangladesh in 15 ODIs and 41 T20Is since her debut in 2015.

The proudest moment for a father, probably, is when he is known among friends and others through his children's identity. For Hamdu Miah, a mere employee of the government's central poultry farm, there probably is no other prouder feeling than being referred to as 'Nahida's [Akter] father'.

"As my father is a fourth-class employee in the colony, the people of the colony and other senior officers did not have much respect for him. But since I started playing for the national team, everyone has a lot of respect for him. Earlier, everyone used to call him Hamdu Miah. But now everyone refers to him as 'Nahida's father'," explained a proud Nahida Akter, who not only brought financial stability to her family but also upgraded the family's social status through cricket.

Nahida, who used to bunk school to play cricket with boys of her colony, had to face a lot of criticism for cricket. Even at times, it was her family and especially her father, who used to scold her for playing cricket. But times have changed drastically for the left-arm spinner.

"People who used to criticise me upfront for playing cricket don't even dare face me now. When I go home, my father still cleans my boots, balls, bat and bag with his own hands. He said, 'we get a lot of respect in the society for cricket, so we have to respect this bat, ball, shoes too'."

However, Nahida's family was initially not so interested in letting her play. It was the adamant nature of Nahida that forced her parents get her admitted to a cricket academy.

"Seeing that I was not giving up cricket and after heeding advice of a few good neighbours, my family decided to get me admitted to a cricket academy," said Nahida.

But Nahida could not make it to the BKSP straight away.

"I went for the BKSP trial in 2012 but I was not selected at that time. Then my brother Nazim Ahmed told my mother that I should focus on my studies and give up cricket. I broke down in tears.

"I wanted to go to the BKSP trial in 2013 but I could not convince anyone else in my family except for my mother. Later my aunt Rehana Begum took me to the BKSP. After the trial and prior to the result, I grew impatient and thought to myself that this would be the end of cricket for me if I didn't make it. But after five days I got a call from BKSP and I got in. That was the best day of my life," reminisced Nahida.

Things changed a lot from there on for Nahida and her family.

"The brother who once told my mother to stop my cricket bought me bat, ball and shoes with the money he earned from tutoring students. I was called for the national side in 2015 and made my debut against Pakistan that year. Through that I could reimburse the money that my father had spent while marrying off my sister in 2013. Since then my family has been enjoying financial prosperity."

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