The wait is over. The women cricketers of Bangladesh national cricket team won't be away from cricket anymore. 32 women cricketers have been called up to the month-long national team camp which is going to begin in Sylhet on Monday.
29 women cricketers were called up initially, four more were added later. These four are- Tazia Akter, Sandiya Islam Asha, Laboni Akter, Zinnat Afia Orthi. Despite the list having 33 cricketers, 32 will join the camp with one of them pulling out for personal reasons, as confirmed by Women's Wing in-charge of the BCB Towhid Mahmud to The Business Standard (TBS).
Samples of twelve among the 32 cricketers were collected on Saturday and the results are likely to be out at night. The women cricketers will head to Sylhet based on the results. The supporting staff have also been screened and their results have come out negative.
Bangladesh women's cricket team last played international cricket in March last year. This will be the first time in 10 months that they will train as a group.
Rumana Ahmed, an all-rounder of the side, told TBS, "Coming back to the field after such a long time is very pleasing. We were due to play a lot of games in 2020 and we expected to perform well. As the situation went out of hand, we do not have any regret. I am really happy to know that we are going to practice together after so long."
"A one-month camp can never make up the time we lost. Still, we will try our best to do so. We all practiced individually more or less during this period. But there is always a difference between individual practice and team practice especially in terms of fitness. If we can gain fitness quickly, then the skill training will be easier," she added.
Salma Khatun, who was part of the Women's T20 Challenge winning Trailblazers squad, said, "I have met many of my teammates today. Everyone was congratulating me as I couldn't meet them after I had returned from the UAE. It's great to have all of them around after a year."
Salma repeated Rumana's words when asked if they could make up the lost time. "It's not possible. We trained at home during the shutdown. But there will be rooms for improvement. Because team practice is different than individual practice. We will try to make it up quickly."
Nigar Sultana Joty, a wicketkeeper batswoman of the side, told TBS, "Coming back to cricket is the happiest thing. No matter how you practice individually, it's always great to train as a group. Those who were outside Dhaka didn't enjoy great facilities. So it is heartening to know that we will enjoy good facilities in Sylhet."
The women cricketers will play five limited over matches in the camp. The camp will be supervised by the assistant coach Faisal Hossain.
Players called up in the camp: Salma Khatun, Nigar Sultana Joty, Murshida Khatun, Rumana Ahmed, Lota Mondal, Panna Ghosh, Sanjida Islam, Ayesha Rahman, Fargana Haque, Jahanara Alam, Nahida Akter, Ritu Moni, Khadiza Tul Kubra, Fahima Khatun, Shamima Sultana, Sobhana Mostary, Rabeya, Puja Chakrabarty, Mumta Hena Hasnat, Suraiya Azmim, Nuhat Tasnia, Sharmin Akter Shupta, Sharmin Sultana, Isma Tanzim, Rubaiya Haider Jhilik, Eka Mollick, Fariha Islam Trishna, Sanzida Akter Meghla, Sumaiya Akter, Tazia Akter, Sandiya Islam Asha, Laboni Akter, Zinnat Afia Orthi.