There’s no doubt how big cricket is in Pakistan. Fans go all out for the men’s team, proclaim them to be heroes. In comparison, only a handful of families support the dreams of a female cricketer in the country wanting to pursue the sport.
However, two Asian Games gold medals (Guangzhou 2010 and Incheon 2014) have changed all that. Today, women are encouraged to take up cricket.
“My mother used to stop me from going to play cricket, saying our society is not like that, but my father always supported me. He used to tell my mother to let me go and play. My uncle motivated me to pursue cricket. But nowadays, because of our two Asian gold medals and the growth of cricket, a lot of talent can be seen in Pakistan. Today parents are allowing their daughters to take up cricket as a sport,” says Pakistan left-arm spinner Anam Amin, who has won back-to-back player of the match awards in the ongoing World T20.
Pacer Diana Baig, who is yet to play a match in the tournament, says she was always encouraged to take up cricket. “My father served in the army and he is a sports fan. He plays volleyball and has always wanted to see me doing well in sports. But since Pakistan’s success in cricket, his support has been immense. He wants to see me do well for Pakistan,” says Baig.
While encouragement was in abundance for Pakistan’s mainstay in batting Bismah Maroof, she says it is the sad state of facilities that is still an obstacle in promoting women’s cricket.
“There is no dearth of talent and a little support at the domestic level can do a lot for women’s cricket. But there is unavailability of grounds for practice. If we are given grounds I am sure we can do much better,” Maroof feels.