Bogura’s local women cricketers hit hard by Covid-19 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 24, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:36 AM, September 24, 2020

Bogura’s local women cricketers hit hard by Covid-19

Since the halt of cricketing activities due to the coronavirus pandemic, the hardships of male domestic cricketers were well documented, but the plight of female domestic players is as bad, if not worse.

They used to pay for their yearly expenses through income from various domestic leagues, but the long hiatus has put them in financial hardship.

Bristy Das, 25, a local cricketer in Bogura, said, "Last year, I played the premier league for Keraniganj with a Tk 1.5 lakh contract but this year all kinds of cricket has stopped due to coronavirus. With that sum I could bear all my yearly expenses, including cricketing equipment. I had even given money to my family from the income last year, but this year I have to take money from my poor family," said Bristy Das.  

"Although BCB gave me Tk 28,000 during the pandemic, but it was not enough to continue practice for a year," she further said.

Like Bristy, Labony Akter, 24, another local player who played the premier league last year for Khelaghor with a contract of Tk.1.65 lakh, said, "The premier league is the only source of income for women cricketers not in the national team. This year we lost the income.

"We need enough money to practise year-round. This year, I thought I would give money to my parents for the first time but now I am taking money from my parents to continue my cricketing expenses. BCB gave us Tk 28,000 in two phases but it is not enough for a year.

"The camp for the national team has also stopped. During the national team camp, at least 30 cricketers like us can save Tk 20,000-30,000," Laboni added.

Most. Mim Khatun, 18, who played first division cricket last year for Mirpur boys, lives 35 kilometres away from the Shaheed Chandu Stadium. She comes to practice at the venue every afternoon, for which she needs Tk 150.

 "During the coronavirus [pandemic], my father's income decreased and sometimes he could not give me this Tk 150."

However, the story is bleaker for the players who came from other districts to learn cricket in Bogura.

Lima Akter, 22, came to Bogura from Narsingdi's Monohardi upazila a year ago to play cricket. Lima lives in a mess in Bogura's Sabujbag area. She needs Tk 3,000 per month for food and rent.  Lima was in the U-19 team and also plays first division cricket for Gulshan boys.

"Bogura has many facilities for women cricketers, so I have lived here for the last year. My father is a bricks supplier. During this Covid-19 pandemic, his income has reduced a lot. This year, my parents would not allow me to come to Bogura because of the financial crisis, but I forced them to let me come."

In 2019, Lima played premier league cricket for Gulshan Youth Club for Tk 25,000.

"My father gives me Tk 3,000 only. I can't buy nutritious food for myself after paying for basic food and accommodation," she said. 

Sharmin Akter,19, came to Bogura from Natore's Naldanga upazila. Sharmin has also been living in a mess for the last two years so that she could keep honing her cricketing skills. She played first division cricket for Anowara SC in 2018 and is studying in a college in Natore, but staying in Bogura only for the love of cricket.

"My mother dreams that one day I will play cricket for the national team. My parents are poor and they can give me only Tk 2,000 for my mess accommodation and food. Sometimes, I can't buy good food or fruits for myself," she added.

According to Lima and Sharmin, there are at least eight girls who came to Bogura for cricket. 

No district coach after Muslim Uddin passed away: The death of Muslim Uddin, the Bogura district coach who earned fame in the national and international arena for his generosity and dedication, on February 10 left male and female cricketers suffering from a lack of guidance.

Even some of the women national team cricketers are missing him badly. Labony Akter said, "Muslim sir was our guardian, our friend, mentor and a good teacher. His unfortunate death is a huge loss for women's cricket. When he was alive, we did not want for anything, including cricket equipment. Now, the junior boys and girls are practising on their own. Sometimes, seniors help them but it's not enough."

National player Sharmin Sultana said there are many things during practice that the players cannot fully grasp, but a coach can explain those.

"So, practising under a coach is very important," said Sharmin.

However, sources said BCB is yet to appoint a district coach to succeed Muslim.

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