Sports

Strong Arms: The Story of Pakistan Women’s Cricket

How did the Pakistan women’s cricket team form?

  • The idea of a women’s cricket team was initially introduced in Pakistan by the two sisters, Shaiza and Sharmeen Khan in 1996. During those years, the popularity of cricket as a sport was widespread. Both men and women were genuinely interested in watching cricket matches.

 

  • However, the deeply imbibed patriarchy meant that women could watch and write about the sport, but when it came to playing, it was male-dominated. However, the two sisters were an exception to this. They knew that cricket was their passion and that they would play the sport no matter what.

 

  • However, they received death threats and hostility from Pakistani people. Moreover, the issue lies in the fact that even the institutions that talk about promoting women’s cricket thought of it as a corporate social responsibility rather than thinking of it as having real potential. Despite efforts to scare them and shut them down, they kept playing the sport in England.
  • Later, they came back to Pakistan to set up the women’s cricket team. Throughout their struggle, their father was their backbone who supported both of them through thick and thin.
  • There were advertisements in the newspaper for forming a women’s cricket team. One such female who had been waiting keenly for a Pakistan women cricket team to develop was Kiran Baluch.
  • Further, most of the girls they picked for the team had never played cricket professionally before. There were no specific criteria based on which these girls were selected. Because of this, they lost almost all matches with a large margin. The two sisters and Kiran came from affluent families, but that was not the same for other girls from the team. They had come from small towns. Shaiza and Sharmeen’s father did all he could by transforming his factory ground to a cricket pitch and paying for a lot of their expenses. Despite the hindrances from the Pakistan Women’s Cricket Association, they continued their fight relentlessly.

How did the team progress?

In the 1997 world cup, they again lost every match. However, reaching that stage itself was such a huge task that it felt as though they had accomplished everything. Step by step, they built a strong team and established many records despite all odds. Their bold attitude and farsightedness are remarkable. It is rightly said, that whatever the Pakistan women cricket team is today is all credited to their struggle to lay the framework of a strong team. In the past decade, a lot has changed in terms of women empowerment. It is essential to recognize how the effort and resilience of two girls helped others realize their true potential as well and develop a splendid cricket team. As Sana Mir has rightly said, “If you are a woman and doing something unconventional, you are not sure if you are doing the right thing.”

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