I told girls to make their presence felt in tournament: Anju Jain

Bangladesh women’s cricket team coach talks about her experience

11 Jun 2018, 10:10

NTV Online

Within three weeks of taking over as coach of the Bangladesh women’s cricket team, Anju Jain has moulded the so-called ‘minnows’ into champions.

Bangladesh, who beat favourites India in the round-robin league stage also, pulled off a dramatic three-wicket victory in the final against six-time champions India to clinch their maiden Asia Cup title in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

Last month’s tour of South Africa was quite a disaster for Bangladeshi women, who were blanked both in the ODI (5-0) and T20 (3-0) series. The Bangladesh board didn’t renew the contract of coach David Capel, a former England allrounder, and appointed Anju, who took charge on May 21.

‘Joining Bangladesh was a fast-tracked move. The team was in bad shape and I was only looking to boost their morale,’ the former India wicketkeeper-opener told TOI from the team hotel.

Having coached the Indian women at the 2012 World T20 and 2013 World Cup, this is Anju’s maiden stint with an international side. ‘This is a huge moment for the team and personally for me also. After the team returned from South Africa, I identified the areas that needed attention. It was a massive challenge, but I must compliment the girls as they made a genuine effort to implement every single thing that I pointed out,’ said Anju.

Prior to accepting the Bangladesh offer, Anju helped the Vidarbha senior women’s team top the Plate Group in the domestic oneday meet for the first time before going down to Bengal in the semis, reports tthe Times of India.

The Asia Cup didn’t begin well for Anju’s Bangladesh as they slumped to a six-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka. But the spirited girls did not let the early setback dent their confidence and they went on to beat India and Pakistan in the league stage.

What was the secret of the double success against India?

‘There was no mantra as such. The idea was to improve with every match. I told the girls to make their presence felt in the tournament and they did just that. No one can say now that they beat India by fluke,’ giggled the former India selector.

Anju felt it was India who were under pressure in the final. ‘India are six-time champions and had already lost to us in the tournament, so the pressure was on them. This was the first final for my girls but they were high on confidence,’ said Anju, who played 8 Tests and 65 ODIs for India before retiring in 2005.

Asked if she had given her girls any special tips on Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj — both of whom she played with for Team India — Anju said, ‘There was no plan for any particular player, though we knew Mithali’s weaknesses. The key to every format is to have the right game plan and the girls executed that to perfection.’

Brief scores: India women 112/9 (Harmnpreet Kaur 56; Khadija Tul Kubra 2/23, Rumana Ahmed 2/22) lost to Bangladesh 113/7 (Nigar Sultana 27, Rumana Ahmed 23; Poonam Yadav 4/9, Harmanpreet 2/19)