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Dhaka Tribune

‘Cricket is like science, changing everyday’

Coach Fatema Tuz Jahara shares her experience of coaching the Maldivian and Australian women’s cricket teams

Update : 03 May 2024, 11:29 PM

The change of cricket in different forms, especially the women’s game, is what Fatema experienced first-hand in three different countries over the last five years.

Her coaching career began at Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthan.

In her more than 10 years of coaching, almost half of it was spent in Australia’s domestic competitions and Maldives women’s team.

Most of the BKSP cricketers in Bangladesh nation team, including pace bowling star Marufa Akter, are her students.

Fatema’s role at BKSP is in development sector involving female cricketers ranging from 12 to 19 years of age.

She was assistant coach of Bangladesh Cricket Board in 2014 and also guided the Bangladesh A side on tour of India in 2018 before her overseas experience in 2019 with Sydney Cricket Club and New South Wales U-18 women’s team.

Time in the Islands

Following a couple of seasons in the land of Kangaroos, Fatema received an offer from Maldives to rebuild the women’s side which became inactive during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“When I went to Maldives it was just after the Covid-19 pandemic. There was literally no team. I trained the local players and prepared a team,” Fatema told Dhaka Tribune.

Cricket is not popular in Maldives. The budget, facility and sports equipment are not sufficient too. It was difficult to attract girls.

“The girls were not interested. I grew interest among them on cricket, which is my achievement.”

Cricket in Maldives is a part time activity.

“No salary, not having enough matches and facilities made it difficult to motivate the girls,” she said.

“There was only men’s competition and none for women but after I joined I arranged two-three women’s tournaments.”

With only one local coach as assistant, Fatema guided the nation that had three teams, including two from two separate islands.

She however, did not see the team she built when they played an Asian Cricket Council-organized tournament as she had moved to another island south.

Gaining unique experience is what pushed Fatema to take up the Maldives challenge but she could not carry on any longer after being appointed by two Australian clubs.

Changing landscapes

Fatema flew to Sydney at the end of last year for the 2023-24 season. She joined Northern District Cricket Club as assistant coach of the women’s side.

She also coached the women’s team of Weston Creek Molonglo Cricket Club of Canberra.

It was the third season she worked as a coach in Australia.

“I went to Australia in 2019 with not enough experience. I’m more mature now and familiar to the environs,” she said.

“I’m learning new techniques and how to get the girls prepared in tough and struggling situations.”

Fatema also explored the wickets of Australia on her own and found it different than the ones in Bangladesh.

She said the Australian club invited her for next season but she is interested to work with Bangladesh’s female cricketers and share the knowledge if any opportunity arises.

“Cricket is like science. It is changing every day.  The training program and the environment are changing every day,” said Fatema, admitting that she has to learn more of it.

Goal is home

After the contract with Australian clubs ended in March, Fatema returned home and gave this exclusive interview. She is currently looking for opportunity to work with Bangladesh cricketers.

A total of 11 out of 15 players in Bangladesh’s latest women’s team that played the home series against Australia in March-April were BKSP’s current and former students.

“Most of the BKSP players in Bangladesh team are my students,” added Fatema while talking about having regular contact with Bangladesh cricketers when she was abroad.

“Whenever they were out of form they called me. They talked about their weakness. They wanted to work with me because their cricketing root started with me.”

“My coaching career is solely in women’s cricket. I know about women’s cricket development. I want to work with them.”

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