Step-by-step advice on pathways, clubs, competitions and coaching for getting into girls cricket and women’s cricket in Bengal.
Back in the 1970s, when women’s cricket first took shape in India, Bengal were known as the team to beat. With their strong batting and world-class pace bowlers, the Bengal women’s cricket team won several Nationals in a row. Eden Gardens was one of the first big venues to welcome and support women’s cricket.
Several players from Bengal have gone on to represent India: former captain and coach Sreerupa Bose; Sharmila Chakraborty; Lopamudra Bhattacharji, a new-ball bowler who was one of the fastest bowlers in India in her time; cricket pioneer and cancer survivor Keya Roy; Runa Basu; Sandhya Mazumdar; Mithu Mukherjee; Priyanka Roy, who was one of the top bowlers in the 2009 World Cup; Archana Das; Rumeli Dhar, one of the best all-rounders India has ever had; and of course, the legendary Jhulan Goswami, who is the leading wicket-taker in all women’s ODIs.
How’s that for inspiring role models!
Women’s cricket or girls cricket in Bengal has progressed a lot in the state in the last 3-4 years, thanks to various efforts by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). In 2018-19, Bengal were senior, Under-23 and Under-19 one-day champions 🏆
Here’s how you can join girls cricket in Bengal and rise up to the state team.
Where to start
Most girls start by joining a club, especially in Kolkata. This gives you access to coaching and competition. Also, importantly, it makes it easier to getting registered with the relevant district association, which is the next step, and then CAB.
However, many of the big clubs of the city don’t have women’s or girls’ teams. And there also is no inter-club tournament for the girls.
(See below for a list of popular clubs and academies for girls.)
Getting into the Bengal women’s state team
Bengal has Under-19, Under-23 and senior women’s teams.
Selection for these teams is based on performances in the inter-district tournament as well as other pathway competitions.
Bengal has a vibrant inter-district tournament. In the 2020-21 season, 18 district teams took part in the CAB Inter-district Women’s T20 tournament.
The teams were as follows: Nadia, Midnapore, Bankura, Siliguri, Burdwan, Cooch Behar, Uttar Dinajpur, Birbhum, Malda, North 24 PGS, Howrah, Dakshin Dinajpur, South 24 PGS, Chandernagore, Manbhum, Hooghly, Jalpaiguri, Murshidabad.
The league phase, where the teams were in six groups of three each, was followed by the quarterfinals, semis and finals.
Players are selected for these teams based on open trials at the district level or if a selector has seen their performances at the club level.
The top players from the districts are then shortlisted for the CAB Women’s One-Day Tournament. In 2020-21, this competition had eight teams, named after colours, playing in two groups of four each.
The top two teams from each group played the semi-finals.
Then, generally, before the state teams are announced, a camp of around 30 probables is called (for junior and senior age groups). From this group, based on net practice and selection matches, a final 15 is announced to represent Bengal.
In Bengal, the women have access to the same gyms and facilities as the men. The Bengal Cricket Academy at Kalyani, which was set up by CAB, offers residential facilities during camps and tournaments.
The Jadhavpur Campus ground is also used frequently by the women’s team.
In recent years, CAB has also worked for the overall development and welfare of its female players, by holding seminars on yoga, sports psychology and fitness, along with cricket skills.
Significantly, some of the one-day matches were streamed in the 2020-21 season. This allowed families and friends of the players to watch them, encouraged the players to lift their game, and also showed that the association was willing to invest in women’s cricket.
School cricket in Bengal
There is no system of school cricket in Bengal.
College cricket in Bengal
Bengal University has a team for the inter-varsity matches, but there are no colleges with women’s teams.
Notable clubs and academies for girls
Many of the more popular clubs for girls are in Kolkata, especially in the Vivekananda Park area. Some of these are:
- Pal and Chatterjee Club
- Pallisree Cricket Coaching Camp, Madyamgram
- Garia Bidhanpally Chatra Sangha Cricket Academy (+91-9831123089)
- Rising Star, Kolkata (+91-9831251318)
- UC Cricket Academy, Shyambazar (+91-9007139272)
- Dum Dum Cricket Coaching Centre
Other opportunities to develop your game
- Pallisree club held the Jatindra Mohan Biswas Memorial Invitational Women’s T20 League; teams that participated included Prateek Sangha, Shyam Nagar; LRS Bangla Sports Academy; and Suravisthan Yubak Sangha, Nadia.
Scholarships & financial aid
CAB supports young girls whose families may not be able to afford the sport. This happens on a case-by-case basis.
When the Bengal teams won the BCCI tournaments in 2018-19, a cash award of up to INR 50,000 for each player was announced.
CAB also offers financial aid for former players in times of need.
If you have information on schools, colleges or academies that support girls cricket in Bengal, contact us and we’ll add it to this page!