With Bangladesh upsetting India to win the Asia Cup, former India cricketer Anju Jain’s joy knows no bounds.
The ex-wicketkeeper-batter took over as coach of Bangladesh women’s team just over a month back and her tenure has started with a bang after her charges defeated India twice on way to winning the continental trophy.
Speaking from Kuala Lumpur, the 43-year-old Anju, who played 65 ODIs and 8 Tests, said, “It was so good to see Bangladesh women trump the top Asian team in the final and lift the title. They worked hard towards it and executed the plans brilliantly. The Indians have been in good form and it required a lot of preparation to formulate strategies against players like Mithali Raj, Harampreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and the spinners. Our next target is to qualify for the T20 World Cup to be held in West Indies in November.”
Anju was assisted by two Indians in the support staff — Devika Palshikar (assistant coach) and Anuja Dalvi (physiotherapist).
It may be recalled that she was head coach of the Vidarbha women’s team last season and had also coached India at the 2012 Women’s World T20 and the 2013 World Cup.
“The Bangladesh men’s team lost a T20 series to Afghanistan recently. So the news of women winning their maiden title in Malaysia has definitely brought back smiles on the faces of Bangladesh fans. The way these women rose to the occasion and beat India twice in the tournament shows their talent and determination. We did chart some plans, specifically for Harmanpreet, Mithali and Smriti knowing their batting prowess. We also planned on how to tackle Indian spinners on slow wickets in Malaysia. I have seen some players from close quarters, so it helped in framing strategy,” added Anju.
She is the second India woman cricketer to land the Bangladesh job. Former captain Mamta Maben was in charge of Bangladesh across two stints in 2011 and 2013.
Bangladesh have a packed schedule in the coming months, including a tour of Ireland in June-end and the World T20 qualifiers in August. “Bangladesh women responded to the Asia Cup challenge well and came out with flying colours. Now we want to win the World T20 qualifiers. We want to compete with the best in the world,” concluded Anju, who is a BCCI-certified Level B coach and would head back to India from Kuala Lumpur to apply for a visa to Ireland.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board, meanwhile, hosted a reception in Kuala Lumpur to honour the team.