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NZ vs Ban, WWC 2022 – ‘Player safety is the most important thing’


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The Bangladesh captain calls the conditions, especially when they were fielding, “not good” or “playable”

Nigar Sultana, the Bangladesh captain, has criticised the conditions in Dunedin, where her team lost their second game of the Women’s World Cup 2022 – a rain-hit fixture to New Zealand. She called the damp outfield unplayable and said she had been worried about the “safety” of her players.

A rain delay of over four hours cut the match down to 27 overs a side, and the drizzle returned in the second innings, when Bangladesh were fielding in defence of 140.

“Firstly, I would like to say [that] this is not good, playable condition, because there was a lot of rain over there, but still we played over there,” she said at the post-match press conference. “Sometimes the bowlers couldn’t grip the ball, and the boundary fielders couldn’t watch the ball very well. And I was a bit worried about the safety of my fielders, because we have five more matches to go. So it was very difficult for us to play in this kind of condition.”

Heavy weather began to roll in as New Zealand’s chase continued. After 13 overs, they were 73 for 1, when a drinks break was due. Bangladesh were on their way to the dugout when the umpires sent the refreshments back and asked for play to continue. New Zealand only took another seven overs to score the remaining 68 runs.

Though Bangladesh accepted the on-field instructions to play on, Sultana spoke to the umpires again after 15 overs, with light rain falling, but play again continued. Afterwards, she indicated they had wanted play to be paused but could not convince the officials.

“When we were on the ground, we asked the umpires whether we would be continuing the game in these conditions, and they kept saying that we should continue. On the field, there was nothing more I could do,” she said. “But we are concerned, so off the field, we can do what we can, speak to whoever we can, and see how we can minimise the risk. We will let the match referee know that the conditions were such that… what should be done to make it better the next time.”

“See, we bring only a few players to World Cups. So it becomes difficult for us if someone suddenly picks up an injury. We are here from Bangladesh, which is far away, so to get a new player from home, have her go through ten days of quarantine, and get her on the field… the tournament will be over by then”

Nigar Sultana

With five matches remaining for them in the tournament, Sultana was concerned that if any of her players suffered an injury, it would leave Bangladesh short on resources and unable to bolster them.

“See, we bring only a few players to World Cups. So it becomes difficult for us if someone suddenly picks up an injury,” she said. “We are here from Bangladesh, which is far away, so to get a new player from home, have her go through ten days of quarantine, and get her on the field… the tournament will be over by then.

“The safety and security of the players is of utmost importance, because we need to think of the future too. We have more fixtures after the World Cup, where we need these players.”

She has asked officials to consider the players’ well-being going forward, especially if the wet weather continued. “We can play the remaining matches only if my players are safe. The safety of the people, who I am going to fight with, is the most important thing for me,” she said.

Sultana dismissed any suggestion that she was making excuses for Bangladesh’s performance and pointed to the comparatively drier conditions New Zealand bowled in.

“If you think this is an excuse, then no. When it was the first innings, there was rain then too, but it was not [the same],” she said. “During the first innings, the rain was not that heavy, the conditions were much better, at least when we batted. When we bowled and fielded, the rain was much heavier.”

Bangladesh have lost both their matches so far, after a 32-run defeat to South Africa on Saturday. They have a week to strategise for their next fixture, against Pakistan in Hamilton.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent



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