Focus on Under-19 team as Bangladesh aim to create strong pathway system

Bangladesh. © Getty Images

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have raised concerns about the feasibility of the Women’s Under-19 World Cup meant to be held in Bangladesh early next year. The board, which only recently formed an Under-19 national squad by selecting 30 players from age-group tournaments, said the doubt, however, would not stop them from continuing to work with those players.

Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel, BCB’s women’s wing chairman, said the COVID-19 pandemic has cast a cloud of doubt over the tournament, adding that the ICC are yet to address the issue.

“The ICC is yet to talk about that and we are not also talking about it. I don’t think it will be held in scheduled time. It’s very tough if the situation doesn’t improve dramatically,” he told Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.

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While the feasibility of the tournament is in question, the board reiterated that they are keen to create a proper pipeline through which players will be groomed to transition more easily through to the international level. This will help create a strong pathway system in Bangladesh, also leading to a more competitive structure.

“We needed an Under-19 team for women’s team to bolster our pipeline. You may say that the World Cup just hastened the process,” Nadel remarked.

“For a long time, we are trying to be a force in the women’s cricket also for which several plans are in the place. Gradually our female team showed their capability of fighting with fire against the top guns. So we felt, if we could form an Under-19 team, it will help us more.”

Following the announcement last year that Bangladesh would host the inaugural Women’s Under-19 World Cup, Nadel explained that a group of 30 players were brought together for a camp to form the Under-19 team.

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“They came from different age-level teams and different districts. After much scrutiny, the coaches selected those girls, who they felt could thrive in international cricket,” he said.

“The preparation was just about to start, only to be halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The girls are now instructed to do gym and fitness session at their home and in this regard, a guideline was given.”

Nadel further added that the team’s practice will resume once the Government gives the go-ahead.

“Regardless of what happens, they will start practice after the situation becomes normal. We have already prepared a guideline of their practice session. They will be given world class facility so that they can make them well prepared,” he concluded.