Jahanara Alam, Bangladesh pace bowler, feels the team needs more opportunities to play against major sides to grow as a team.
“For me it’s not about handling pressure, it’s about lack of playing experience with the major teams,” she told CricTracker in an interview.
“In November 2019, we played against Pakistan and lost the T20 series, but levelled the ODI series. We understood their weak points and hence, performed well against them in the T20 World Cup.” Bangladesh had managed to defeat Pakistan by five runs in the warm up match ahead of the tournament.
The 27-year-old pacer, who hit the winning runs during their 2018 Asia Cup win against India, reiterated the need to play regularly against the top sides.
“If we played against the likes of Australia, New Zealand, and India, then we wouldn’t have looked back. Even if we would have lost a few matches, we could have won a couple of games. But we are stranded at the same place for the last eight and half years, ranked number nine. However, I firmly believe that we would move forward and gradually climb up in the rankings.”
Alam, who has represented Bangladesh in 108 international matches across formats, also called for more televised matches to take women’s cricket’s popularity further.
“ICC should also telecast the matches of the teams in the top 10 rankings,” she said. “If not broadcasting, they can also promote the game through highlights on YouTube. In this way, they could popularize the game even more.”
She also talked about her experience of playing in Women’s T20 Challenge in front of a huge crowd in Jaipur.
“It was amazing. I couldn’t even imagine that it would end in such a great way for me and out of the two wickets, one of them would become the ‘ball of the WIPL’,” she said. “I never faced (Sophie) Devine and (Natalie) Sciver before, didn’t have the privilege of playing alongside them. I used the reverse swing to good effect, using the wind, after the ball got old. I was appreciated by my teammates for the efforts I put in.”
“I enjoyed every bit of my journey in the tournament. I only regret, conceding a few runs in my last over while bowling to Harman. Had I not given those many runs we could well have been the champions. Next time when I get a chance, I would be looking to keep a calm head and perform better. In India, I have a lot of fans and well-wishers. Hence, I didn’t feel like being on alien grounds.”
Alam, who played along with Shafali Verma in the Women’s T20 Challenge, thinks Verma has improved a lot as player from their time in Velocity and could go on to score a lot of runs at the international level.
“When I saw her in Velocity, I didn’t feel that she could play in the World Cup as an opener. She scored well in one of the games. I had a chance to bowl to her in the practice sessions.”
“Even though, we (Bangladesh) knew her shortcomings, we didn’t play enough against her. We were also aware of her strong points. Even in the team meetings, we planned about how to stop her,” she recalled while talking about Bangladesh’s match against India during the T20 World Cup in Australia. “In the match, she hit me for a six over the sweeper cover. Had the wind not helped her, I would have taken her wicket. I wasn’t lucky as I could easily have picked up a couple of wickets that day.”
“She has improved a whole lot; she has become fitter than before and she has developed her power-hitting as well. If Shafali could play in the same matter even in the future, she would score loads and loads of runs at the international level,” she concluded.