After a long gap of 20 months, Bangladesh women's team will return to international cricket when they play a three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe in November. The nine-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka in the 2020 T20 World Cup was Bangladesh's last international match.
"The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and Zimbabwe Cricket have had talks regarding this series and it was decided our women's team will be play three ODIs against Zimbabwe ahead of the World Cup Qualifier," Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel, BCB's women's cricket chief told ESPNcricinfo. "We have stuck to just the ODI matches for the bilateral series because the qualifier are in the one-day format and it will serve as an important preparatory exercise for our team in terms of getting match time before the qualifier."
Following the bilateral series, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will enter the bio-bubble for the 10-team women's ODI World Cup Qualifier tournament.
According to Nadel, the pandemic and socio-cultural issues have been the roadblocks for the women's team to play cricket again.
"We had been trying to organise tours for Bangladesh Women for a long time, but our plans didn't come off. The coronavirus pandemic was a reason but we came across hurdles arising from issues related to sports and social-cultural perceptions that exist in the subcontinent - I won't name the countries but we didn't agree to conduct tours with a few of them because of this reason,"
"Unfortunately, roadblocks continue to exist around women's sport, related to prevailing gender inequality, even though we continue to work to eradicate them. The investment required to create a biobubble is significant for a women's team; we often don't get that from our sponsors. Sponsors and investors expect mileage out of every series they invest in, and against that backdrop, that doesn't seem to be possible now (with the women's side), so the matches against Zimbabwe is all we have been able to finalise," he said.
Bangladesh are yet to name a new head coach since the departure of former India captain Anju Jain in June last year. According to the Cricinfo, some of the coaching staff who were incharge of the recent national camp in Savar will accompany the team for the Zimbabwe series and the World Cup Qualifier.