Pakistanis, as a nation, watch, eat, breath, live cricket. Everything must stop when cricket happens, especially if it’s a big tournament. Cricket even takes precedence over relationships for you, doesn’t it? I have heard of shaadi events being scheduled to accommodate people’s cricket screenings!
All this fanfare and attention is lavished only upon the guys but do you know who performs despite a lack of support, infrastructure, compensation or any fan-attention? It is the Pakistani Women’s Cricket Team. Those girls have, time and again, proved that even though they train off of the scraps that boys leave, they can still out-perform expectations at any major event.
Here is why you all need to give these amazing cricketers their long overdue attention, admiration and love:
They played without any institutional support for 9 years
The Pakistani Women’s Cricket Team was established in the year 1996 by two cricket enthusiasts and sisters, Shaiza Khan and Sharmeen Khan. Sadly, like every time a woman goes on to do anything, male egos were rubbed off the wrong way. The sisters received death threats and the government refused to allow them to play against India in 1997 stating that women playing in public spaces was against the religion.
Shaiza Khan, pictured above, was the pioneer of women’s cricket in Pakistan.
In spite of facing early setbacks they kept fighting for their right to play
After much controversy, the Pakistani Women’s Cricket Team, finally made their international debut in 1997, the same year they were earlier forbidden because of “religious reasons”, against New Zealand and Australia. They lost all their matches.
After this, they continued to lose all their international matches until their 19th match, at home ground, against Netherlands. It was a 7 match ODI series that the Pakistani Women’s Cricket Team won by 4-3. This was a much needed morale booster that the team needed and paved the way for them to start making a mark in the international cricketing arena.
They even stood brave in the face of legal maelstrom
In the year 2003 the Pakistani Women’s Cricket Team found themselves in the center of intense legal battle over their governing body. The Pakistan Women’s Cricket Control Association (PWCCA) filed a case against the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), alleging that the PCB was indulging in affairs of the Pakistani Women’s Cricket Team whereas they weren’t allowed to do so under law as the PWCCA was the registered governing body for women’s cricket in Pakistan. The PCB retaliated by saying that they were the sole governing authority for cricket in Pakistan and that no other should be allowed to send teams for international fixtures.
After intense dispute, it was decided that the International Women’s Cricket Council would merge with the International Cricket Council (ICC), forming two separate wings – one for men and the other for women’s cricket. This led to the PWCCA to also be absorbed by the PCB.
After years of struggle they finally got institutional recognition
Once the PCB overtook the administration of Pakistani Women’s Cricket Team, a women’s wing was established by the PCB. This happened in the year 2005. According the PCB’s official website, “PCB has extended its full support toward the development of women’s cricket in Pakistan. During the last nine years, the standards have improived[sic] and now the game is recognised[sic] at par with men’s level”.
While we’re not entirely convinced that it is at par with the men’s yet, but indeed the status of Pakistani Women’s Cricket Team has improved a whole lot over the years.
And now they are shining bright like the stars that they are, doing things that the Boys in Green haven’t been able to
Today the Pakistani Women’s Cricket Team, under the leadership of the very able captain Sana Mir, are doing wonders in the field. They managed to not only go on to play the finals in the inaugural Asia Cup, in 2004-05, they have gone on to record two back-to-back gold medals in the Asian Games. In the Asian Games of 2010 and 2014, the team defeated Bangladesh to cinch the gold medal, both times.
Moreover, Shaiza Khan, the pioneer of women’s cricket in Pakistan, has the “best bowling figures” of all time in Test Matches. She scored 13 wickets in a match against West Indies, in Karachi in 2004.
For all their success, the women’s team has not forgotten to thank the fans that have cheered on for them and supported them throughout their ups and downs. For instance, upon winning the Asian Games in 2010, the team called their win as a “gift to the nation riding on a series of crises” as 21 million people were affected by flood in 2010.
This is what women can do, if they are let to go out and show their mettle in the world. The Pakistani Women’s Cricket Team has proved that women can be smart, intelligent, strong champions who can make their country proud just like anyone else.
Thank you, Team Pakistan!
Zarra ye bhee check karein: