The sharp contrasts in the performances overseas between our women's national cricket team and the men's side are instructive, more for cricket managers and promoters than perhaps for cricket lovers.
Less pampered than their male counterparts, our women cricketers have proved themselves in world cricket, and carved a niche in their own right.
They have made winning a habit, and that too in away matches where they had to cope with tough pitch and playing conditions. But while the Tigers do relatively well on home ground , they perform poorly overseas. To be sure , the women are leading the way there-- in terms of not just acclimatising with overseas conditions but bringing laurels as well.
So , we saw , to our fond surprise, Bangladesh remaining unbeaten throughout Women's World T20 Qualifiers round having defeated Ireland by 25 runs in the final in Netherlands last Saturday. As champions of the qualifying round in Group "A", they now play against the defending champions and hosts West Indies in the opener on November 9.
What is particularly illustrative of their new-found yet hopefully enduring cricketing prowess is the triple title victory in a row. The latest triumph has come about on the back of maiden success in the highly competitive six-nation Asia Cup T20 and a bilateral T20 series win by 2-1 margin against hosts Ireland in June.
All this commends for a planned, bank-rolled promotion of women in cricket, or for that matter, in the wider arena of sports. Given that we have earned a championship in a prestigious women under 19 football tournament coupled with laurels fetched in individual events, it is time to build pipelines of sporting talents without even unwitting gender discrimination.
That said, let's turn to tragic capitulation of the Tigers in West Indies. The net result of that has the chilling downgrading of Bangladesh among the ten Test playing countries. Whereas for the first time we had moved to the eighth position in the ICC Test rankings in May 01 last year, we have slipped to the ninth place after being whitewashed by the West Indies.
Surely all this brings into a sharp focus the abysmal failure of the men's cricket team to live up to expectations, far less play to their potential. Why? Because of impulsive captaincy decisions writ large on arbitrary bowling changes witnessed in the first Test match in particular. The captain ought to be team a man - individual records are important only when they add-on to the team's victory; otherwise they dangle in vaporous isolation.
Echoing some professional tips may I suggest , 'Do not bandy about difficult playing conditions including hard, bouncy pitches overseas when you have the option of preparing such wickets at home and getting used to playing on them.' Finally , how could our six top batters with experience in playing fast bowling allowed themselves to be so easily beaten for pace? No footwork, no leaving the risky balls, a customary practice in Test matches--- have they unlearned some of their previously acquired skills ?They better work on their weak points to clinch the ODI and T20 series with the West Indies.
The triumphs of the Tigresses, heartening as these have been, can't be a redemption for the Tigers' debacles. They must shake off their lean period and assert themselves for their own sake. Nothing will be sadder than going off the radar of reckoning.
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