Hilal For Her

Pakistan Women Cricket Team: An Unfolding Saga of Talent, Resilience and Strength

In 1978, for the first time in history, sports and physical activities were recognized as a “human right” in the International Charter of Physical Education and Sport by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In 1990s, Shazia and Sharmeen Khan introduced the concept of women's cricket in Pakistan, disregarding the many death threats and bellicose reactions from some segments of the society.  Nonetheless, their efforts paid off in 1997, when Pakistan Women Cricket Team made its One Day International (ODI) debut. An unimaginable achievement by the Pakistan Women Cricket Team, representing Pakistan on an international forum, even though they lost all three ODIs against New Zealand and Australia. 

Pakistan Women Cricket team ranks at number 7 on ICC ranking among more than 100 countries playing on the field. This is not a gift, women of Pakistan inherited, but they earned it through their hard work.  

Pakistan Women Cricket team ranks at number 7 on ICC ranking among more than 100 countries playing on the field. This is not a gift, women of Pakistan inherited, but they earned it through their hard work.  

In less than three decades, Pakistan Women Cricket Team brought international honors home with players like Sana Mir, former captain and country’s best female off-spinner with 113 ODIs to her credit, who has recently topped the ranking of bowlers in International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ODI category on October 22, 2018. 
Such are the achievements of our women which keep paving the way for future generations of Pakistan. Though the battle against the ultraconservative mindset, which tabooed sports for women in Pakistan is not over yet, but the resilience of our awe-inspiring achievers makes it worth fighting for. 
According to Ayesha Ashar, General Manager Pakistan Women Cricket Team, Pakistan has three players who are among the top 15 in ICC ranking. The most encouraging aspect in all of this is that girls hailing from all parts of Pakistan, with varying cultural and ethnic backgrounds, pursue cricket as a career. They are able to reach the national level with parental support. However, a lot needs to be done regarding talent hunting and honing at organizational and government level.  
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is fully supportive of the women’s cricket team. On PCB website, women cricketers have parallel promotions but it takes a lot of time and hard work to be there. Lately, media has also been active in supporting the game but not to the extent Pakistan men’s team is projected.  
PCB is also in the process of starting the cricket academy system for girls as sports must be promoted from the school level. An interschool tournament of 16 schools will be held in the near future under the banner of PCB for talent hunting and promoting a culture of sports. 
Born in Karachi with family roots in KPK, Javeria Khan, 30, is serving as the top batswoman and captain of Pakistan Women Cricket Team. Unlike many other girls with a limited number of opportunities, she came across many and grabbed the best and evolved into a fine cricketer. 

Khan, a graduate in humanities with Economics, Geography, and Indian History as majors, claims that her cricketing career helped her to have control over her reactions and to respond more rationally in demanding situations instead of rendering an emotional rejoinder. Her mainstay throughout this journey of success and incessant struggle to strive for excellence has been her family. Being a captain, she is more than determined and hopeful that our cricket team will perform up to the mark and at par with any top team of the world. 
Nashra Sandhu, 20, hails from Lahore, and places great emphasis on female fitness to excel at international level. She emphasized that in order to be successful, we should always perfectly fit in the nexus of discipline, fitness, and skills to excel in any sport. And all this can be secured when positive attitude towards life and sports is blended with desire for excellence to achieve results for your country.  
For young sports lovers, it is all about giving the best exposure to both genders from the very onset so that girls, in particular, could decide the field they would enter into later in life. There must be a sound sport-training infrastructure in place for young girls to participate, learn, and get polished. It is equally important that we raise and highlight the status of current female players so that more girls could be inspired. Sandhu reiterated the fact that we can do so by increasing the chances of interaction between veteran cricketers and young, aspiring girls. 

In order to be successful, we should always perfectly fit in the nexus of discipline, fitness, and skills to excel in any sport.

Ayesha Zafar, 24, an IBA graduate from Karachi further explained the standpoint regarding the inherent and latent downsides of our social system when it comes to gender discrimination and sports. From unequal wages to unequal media coverage, females’ sports suffer on many fronts.  Naturally, poor coverage of media leads to lesser advertising and sponsorship options pouring in for female sports.  
Zafar, who has been part of Pakistan team since 2015, claims that her experience has been amazing so far but due to poor media coverage, they were not able to develop a fan-base at the same level as the male cricketers enjoy. This negligence at social level creates the domino effect resulting in widespread public ignorance towards sports in Pakistan. 
Nothing would change the scenario for the women of Pakistan unless we, as a society, realize the significance of establishing and maintaining gender equilibrium. Our daughters can make us as proud as our sons can. The discourse embedded in Pakistan Women Cricket Team is deep and fascinating with far-reaching impact on generations to come.  These players are changing the way we are raising and educating our daughters. No matter how hard the circumstances, a woman should not give up on her dreams.  Pakistan Women Cricket Team has firmly established that our daughters can rise and shine if horizons could be expanded and taboos broken.HH

The writer is a Fulbright scholar for the cross-cultural exchange programme to UC Davis and an MPhil TESL from BNU
Email:nrv.n[email protected]


Former Pakistani Captain
Ranked number 1 player in International Cricket Council’s ODI ranking
Cricketing fans vote Mir’s wonder delivery  to Laura Delany — pitched outside leg stump going on to hit the top of middle and leg stump after a big spin — as Play of the Tournament in Women’s World T20 2018.
Women Cricket Monthly selects Mir in December 2018 issue, for cross-format women’s team of the year based on 26 wickets at an average of 12.53 with an economy rate of 3.63 and 188 runs at an average of 26.85 with a strike rate of  56 in 10 ODIs, and 15 wickets at an average of 32.40 with an economy rate of 6.23 and 130 runs at an average of 16.25 with a strike rate of 67 in 22 T20Is, between October 22, 2017 and November 24, 2018. 

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