Sunday, 25 February 2007

Women Cricket in Bangladesh : Start of a New Era

Bangladesh cricket has made another significant step in right direction by launching first ever National Women Cricket Championship. This is the first time in Bangladesh cricket history when women cricketers will play in any form of domestic cricket. While most of the women cricket team of other test playing nations are regularly playing test and one day series, Bangladesh do not have a national women cricket team. In previous years limited efforts were taken to build a national team but an international side has never represented Bangladesh before mainly because of a lack of interest from players and organizers.

Veteran cricket coach Altaf Hosaain is making a hard and solitary effort to promote women cricket in Bangladesh for the last few years. Bangladesh was invited in November 2005 to take part in the second Women’s Asia Cup and around 20 girl cricketers were selected for a camp under the supervision of coach Altaf Hossain. After a few weeks camp Bangladesh finally turned down the invitation fearing the team would not be competitive enough.

In cricket history, the first ever women cricket match was held in 1811 between two county side at London. Women's Test cricket has been played since December 1934. The International Women's Cricket Council was formed in 1958 to coordinate women's cricket which was officially integrated with International Cricket Council in 2005 after the eighth Women’s World Cup in South Africa which was won by Australia. . The following women cricket teams have been awarded test status by International Cricket Council -

Australia, England, India, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies

It's interesting to not that Ireland and Netherlands are women test playing nation while they are yet to gain test status in the men version.

Women One Day internationals are played since 1973 and first ever Women’s Cricket World Cup was held in 1973 in England in which they emerged as champion. In addition to the above mentioned teams, three other teams have been awarded one day status. They are

Denmark, Japan and Scotland

Only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are tow test playing nations who do not play test or one day cricket in the women version of the game. Recently Zimbabwe's women won the Women's World Cup Qualifiers – Africa region, to reach ICC Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifying Tournament 2007 (WCWCQT) in Pakistan.

Bangladesh Cricket Board is expecting to form a national cricket team out of the top 30 performers of the maiden championship. Ten teams are participating in the opening tourney in two groups. Teams are -

Group A -- Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Ansar, Narayanganj. Group B -- Bhola, Rajshahi, Jahangirnagar University, Bogra, Rangamati.

Nothing much is known yet about the possible strengths and weakness of the teams. It is expected that Dhaka will be one of the title contender due to more accessibility to women cricket.

Amid huge enthusiasm the opening ceremony of the tournament was held at Mirpur Sher E Bangla National Stadium and the semifinals and final are scheduled on 3rd and 5th February respectively.

Now, the first step is already taken and it's very important to take the subsequent steps with proper planning. Environments must be created so that girls from every section of the society feel interest for the game and regular domestic cricket is played in every division if not in every districts. Bangladesh Krira Shikhka Protisthan (BKSP) should start a new discipline on women cricket to nurture young talents and make them quality cricketers. All public and private universities should start Inter-University Women Cricket Championship to promote women cricket in Bangladesh. As Bangladesh is not receiving any ICC grant to promote women cricket, BCB should create its own funding and encourage sponsors to come forward. Cricket is a passion for Bangladesh and it is expected that women cricket will be livelier due to inherent glamour involved in women version of any game.

Fundamental religious groups might try to hinder the prospect of women cricket in Bangladesh but that should be treated strongly as Pakistan, religiously more conservative country are playing women test cricket and has domestic tournaments.

We are keeping our finger crossed; we hail the initiatives of Bangladesh Cricket Board and expect Bangladesh Women Cricket team will make their mark in the international arena within shortest possible time.

No comments: