The noise around women's cricket in Bangladesh has never been high-pitched until last Sunday when the Tigresses, as they are now fondly called, clinched the first-ever international cricket trophy for the country. The Bangladesh women cricketers made history at the Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur beating the tough Indian team in a nerve-wracking last-ball thriller of the Women's Asia Cup Twenty20 cricket tournament. India is the six-time titleholders of the Asia Cup. Sunday's victory elated within seconds the cricket lovers' mood that was deeply soured by the thrashing the country's male international cricketers had in the hands of a new-comer cricket nation Afghanistan in a three-match T20 series held in the Indian city of Dehradun.
As the Tigresses and a few hundred Bangladeshis present erupted into wild celebrations at the Kanrara Oval within moments following the historic victory, many recalled, at that very moment, the win of the Bangladesh male cricketers in the same Malaysian capital in the final match of the ICC Championship trophy in 1997. The victory facilitated the entry of Bangladesh into international cricket. Since then the history of male Bangladesh cricketers has been both sweet and sour. On a number of occasions, they could not achieve the ultimate win despite having all the potential. Critics often blame the players' poor temperament or the management problem at the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for the failures. But the truth could be somewhere in-between.
Women's cricket in Bangladesh is relatively new. It made its debut in the international cricket in 2007. Not many people until now have taken the women cricketers that seriously. The BCB is no exception. While the board has been quite generous in the matters of salaries and allowances given to the male cricketers, it is reported to be miserly in the case of their female counterparts. True, the exposure of the male cricketers is far greater than their female counterparts, but the women professional cricketers should also get their due. However, anything that has the potential to dampen their determination to improve cricketing skill needs to be avoided.
The ability to keep cool and perform in pressure-situations is considered one of the greatest qualities in any game - and cricket in particular. Bangladesh male cricketers, on many occasions in the past, could not hold on to their nerves when they came under pressure in crucial games. In last Sunday's Asia Cup final, though Bangladesh were in control of the major part of match, there were moments when India appeared making a comeback. When Bangladesh needed a couple of runs against the final delivery to clinch the victory, there were a few moments of uncertainty, to be honest.
Millions of spectators watching the match at the Kuala Lumpur ground and live on TV plunged into silence, holding their breath deep. Even many top cricketing teams do often falter in such situations. But, the Tigresses kept their cool until the moment arrived to roar. And then they roared with abandon. This showed their true potential. Now, it is the responsibility of the BCB and relevant others to hone the skill of women cricketers so that they can deliver their best all forms of international cricket in the future. The BCB should also not behave miserly when it comes to the development of women's cricket.
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