Cricket is undoubtedly the most loved and followed sport in Bangladesh. Fans are excited to see the likes of Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim in action and know their stories as it is the men's team that is often highlighted most. In an attempt to begin redressing that balance, The Daily Star tried to contact women cricketers and bring up the stories of their struggles, hardships or the reason behind choosing the profession. In today's instalment, we unveil the story of middle-order batter Fargana Hoque.
It is not very usual to see the norms of the modern generation being welcomed by members of the preceding generation. But the tale of Bangladesh batter Fargana Hoque is one such exception. Like most female sportspeople in the country, Fargana also had to contend with opposition from her family and surroundings. It was the support from a person who is two generations older than Fargana that helped her follow her dream fearlessly.
"I used to steal my brother's clothes and go and play with the boys in my locality since I was about five or six years of age. My father is a religious man. He never liked seeing me play with boys and used to get very angry when elderly people of my locality relayed the news to him. He used to punish me. But I used to sneak out and go to play," recalled Fargana.
And maybe Fargana would have given up had it not been for her grandmother Tahera Begum, who shielded her from most of the negativity.
"My father had tightened the noose as my eagerness for cricket grew. But then, my grandmother emerged as a blessing in my life. She almost started a battle against my father. She said, 'If Fargana wants to play then just let her. There are women who are doing a lot more than that in the world'. My father's heart slowly started to melt since then; he had a lot of affection for his mother and could never really win arguments with her," said Fargana.
"Since then I started playing cricket fearlessly. My grandmother used to take me to the field and stand under the scorching heat for as long as I played," said Fargana, who is just two runs shy of 1,000 T20I runs.
Fargana also mentioned how the scenario changed over the years.
"In 2008, my father took me to BKSP for trials. It was the first time that I saw my father worrying about my selection. Fortunately, I was selected.
"My father has changed a lot. Even now during this coronavirus crisis, he calls me daily and asks me if I am training properly and working on my fitness or not." said Fargana.
Fargana was also grateful for all the support that she gets from her husband and her in-laws. She is continuing her fitness work and training as she eagerly waits to get back on the field and score the two runs that will take her to a new milestone.