Jahanara Alam and Salma Khatun, who are set to play in the Women's T20 Challenge, believe that their inclusion will pave the way for other female Bangladeshi cricketers in the tournament in the coming years.
The Women's T20 challenge, popularly known as the Women's IPL, is scheduled to start from November 4 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Pacer Jahanara Alam will play for the Velocity, the team she represented last year as well. Veteran all-rounder and the captain of the Bangladesh Women's T20 team Salma Khatun will play for the first time in the tournament, representing the Trailblazers.
Both of them are preparing themselves ahead of the biggest T20 tournament in Women's cricket. They started training on Tuesday at the BCB Academy ground. They will undergo the first round of Covid-19 screening on October 13 and second round on October 19. If the results turn out negative, they will fly to the UAE on the 21st.
"I am really delighted for the fact that the number of players from Bangladesh is increasing,' Jahanara said. " I'll try my best through my performance to let them know that there are capable players in Bangladesh."
"I was thinking last year that it would be great if some more Bangladeshi cricketers could play in the tournament. This year the number has increased to two. If we can deliver the goods, I think the others will get opportunities next year," she added.
But Jahanara and Salma will not be part of the same side. So there won't be many opportunities to spend time together during the tournament. "We will have to quarantine ourselves for six days and undergo Covid-19 thrice. We are part of different teams, so we won't get too many chances to meet. We can fly together- that's all," mentioned Jahanara.
Salma Khatun, who will play in the tournament for the first time, couldn't work much on her skills during the shutdown and is looking to prepare herself well before flying to the UAE.
"I hope there will be more Bangladeshi cricketers playing the next year," Salma said. "Last year, there was only Jahanara. Now I am also there. If we can make a mark, then the door will be opened for others as well."
The cricketers will reach the UAE in the third week of October. The teams of the three-team tournament will be skippered by Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana. Teams can field a maximum of four overseas players, just like the IPL.
The final of the tournament will be held in Sharjah on November 9.