ACC women's tournament review

Report card: More homework needed

The overall standard suggests that more than international cricket, the players need a heavier domestic calendar

Nishi Narayanan

July 20, 2007

Text size: A | A



Champa Chakma was one of the stars for Bangladesh in the tournament © ACC
Enlarge

A 'can do better' remark in a report card means you've got the potential but need to work harder; those three words would apply to the teams at the just-concluded Asian Cricket Council (ACC) women's tournament at Johor in Malaysia.

Bangladesh won the tournament after beating Nepal by eight wickets in the final; they won all their games by big margins, including ten-wicket wins against UAE and Singapore. But these results really reflect the standard of the rest of the teams than of Bangladesh themselves.

To be fair, none of the eight sides - Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Thailand, and UAE - have much experience playing international cricket. While Singapore and Malaysia had played each other once last year, for Thailand, UAE, and Nepal the ACC tournament was their first brush with serious cricket. Hong Kong were the favourites at the start of the tournament simply because they had the most experience, having toured Pakistan for five ODIs last September and then recently having beaten China twice.

The UAE side, led by 12-year old Natasha Cherriath, was formed just days before the ACC tournament began. They lost all three of their games and, against Bangladesh, were bowled out for nine within 40 minutes of the start of play. Singapore, who also fared poorly against Bangladesh - making 26 for 8 in their 30 overs - recorded their solitary win against UAE.

So what needs to be done? Organise more such tournaments? It wouldn't hurt to have these teams play each other more frequently but, alongside international fixtures, the players need to play more cricket at home. The game can develop in these countries, mainly areas where cricket is not the No. 1 sport, if it is played in schools; that will ensure a large pool of talent to train and then pick from.

Such development work has already begun in Nepal, where a national-level school championship started in 2005, largely through the initiative of LB Chhetri, a former Nepal captain. Chhetri quit the game in 2000 when he was offered a job with the United Nations Development Programme. His job involved travelling to rural Nepal, where he noticed that the women were socially backward.

Chhetri believed that playing cricket could help build their confidence and, with the help of Plan International Organisation, an NGO, he started a project called 'School Reach'. "We directed the project at all schools at the district and regional level," Chhetri was quoted as saying in the tour diary of Sheila Razdan, the UAE manager, on the ICC website. "We hired national players to visit the school and conduct a three-day camp. There they engaged in interactive sessions along with sports and physical instructors who we also made part of the camp.

"Our hard work paid off and 33 schools came forward to include cricket in their plans for girls' physical education. Some parents were worried that their girls would be injured playing the game and then who would want to marry them! But they soon came around when they saw how much fun the girls were having and how it benefited them socially and in their health."

According to The Razdan Report, as the diary was called, the first inter-school competition for girls was held in 2005, with 15 schools participating. The numbers increased the next year and soon the girls were playing with regular cricket balls and not the tennis balls that they had started out with. To prepare for the ACC tournament 23 players were selected from 16 schools, of whom 18 were finalised for a conditioning camp. "The most satisfying feeling was when the girls from the regions insisted on continuing to play despite the temperature reaching as high as 43 degrees," said Chhetri, who is now a member of the Nepal cricket board.

Singapore also has an encouraging school cricket development programme but since the women's national team was created just ahead of the ACC tournament they were unlikely to make heads turn. And that is why a combination of more international matches for the national team and a rigorous programme for developing interest in cricket among school children could be the trick in helping these countries do better. Maybe that's when 'can do better' will change to 'hard work has paid off'.

Nishi Narayanan is an editorial assistant on Cricinfo

RSS Feeds: Nishi Narayanan

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Nishi NarayananClose
Staff writer Nishi studied journalism because she didn't want to study at all. As she spent most of the time at j-school stationed in front of the TV watching cricket her placement officer had no choice but to send out a desperate plea to the editor of ESPNcricinfo to hire her. Though some of the senior staff was suspicious at that a diploma in journalism was the worst thing that could happen to ESPNcricinfo and she did nothing to allay them, she continues to log in everyday and do her two bits for cricket.

Pietersen has won Tests on his own in India, SL

Modern Masters: Dravid and Manjrekar on KP's ability to change the course of a game in two or three hours

    The mighty Mr Pollock

Mark Nicholas on Graeme Pollock, a man who has been among the finest players from his country, and on the world stage

    'Ballance had a bigger impact than Root against India'

Bowl at Boycs: Geoffrey Boycott explains how Indian batsmen are hurting because of excessive limited-overs matches, and more

    'Gupte could bowl any line and length at will'

My XI: Erapalli Prasanna on his favourite spin bowlers. First up: Subhash Gupte

What cricket can learn from baseball's review system

Kartikeya Date: In baseball, technology is used to help experts, not to second-guess them

News | Features Last 7 days

India disgraced themselves by not competing

MS Dhoni and the BCCI are to blame for a touring party that became too comfortable and compliant

'I couldn't bring myself to set a batsman up by giving him runs'

Glenn McGrath talks about the method behind his metronomic consistency, visualisation, and why aggression isn't about sledging

Errant elbows, and Priyanjan's shuffle

Plays of the day from the first ODI between Sri Lanka and Pakistan

Dhoni doesn't heed his own warning

Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff

Don't lap sweep when Sangakkara keeps

Plays of the day from the second ODI between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, in Hambantota

News | Features Last 7 days