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Women’s cricket

Published Mar 12, 2017 07:24am

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BARRING the occasional headline, not much has been written on women’s cricket in Pakistan. Men’s cricket, like every other men’s sport, has long monopolised the mainstream sports landscape. Whether in terms of television coverage, monetary backing or public interest, women’s cricket is consistently eyed with lethargy and treated in an offhand manner. Call it tardiness or our classic conservative mindset, but our team has yet to make a prominent mark overseas, and much progress remains.

Our present predicament is this: since the women’s cricket team started out in 1997, we have not won a single ODI against the current top four teams. Currently, no Pakistani player is in the top 10 all-rounders rankings for ODIs or for T20s, or in the top 10 ODI batswomen rankings.

Sustaining any domestic sporting circuit requires uncovering new potential. For this, we need a set-up that ensures an abundant annual influx of young talent, allows players of all levels to sharpen their skill-set and earn a decent living. On paper, such a structure exists — but how deeply it incorporates these requisites is less clear.

The existing domestic structure is such that today’s aspiring woman cricketer has a long course to travel before appearing on the international stage. The inter-district championship, taking place annually among district/zonal teams, acts as the first stage of professional exposure wherein girls can vie for the Inter-regionals/departmentals. De­­ser­­­ving players may then get selected for the Pakistan academies (Pakistan A and Pakis­tan Under-19 teams), and may make it to the national camp. So, if the structure is straightforward and inclusive, why does women’s cricket lag behind? What are the loopholes?


Efforts are required to promote the game.


A weak foundational level is one. Men have a wide domestic circuit, whereas women have a relatively linear path. What differentiates the men’s layout from the women’s is the realm of opportunities at the pre-district level. Boys have incredibly competitive school- and college-level circuits to strengthen their foundations early. Moreover, men’s club cricket sharpens game development and aptitude — something women could also draw on.

Secondly, the need for adequate financial security is under-stressed. Many women are reluctant to pursue cricket professionally due to the likelihood of low incomes. Some take it up as a hobby and later withdraw, foreseeing no guaranteed career. Why would a girl, who could easily make more at a bank, compromise on this prospect to play cricket? Playing professionally is a career choice. It demands unrelenting physical effort, mental toughness and year-long devotion. Like other professionals, women cricketers are also entitled to fair earnings.

And while these red areas are corrigible, there is one inarguable crimp in the ladder troubling our women — the ‘social barriers’.

The concept of girls in sports is still alien to Pakistani society. Some families prefer their daughters engage in activities more likely to lead to better marriage prospects. Others consider playing sports a waste of time, curbing any ambitions their daughters, sisters or wives might have mistakenly evoked. Sportswomen are still widely deemed disgraceful and ‘unladylike’. These barriers must be challenged and corrected through initiatives that promote a creditable picture of women’s cricket, one that flies beyond the negative mindset. Enter broadcast media.

Since public opinion is defined everyday through media consumption, it is vital that more women’s matches are televised to ensure maximum outreach and promotion. This cannot be achieved without generating advertising revenues, which posits a challenge for broadcast firms. A great approach to this could be ad campaigns that are targeted at and/or feature sportswomen. Women empowerment is a popular theme; a few meaningful ads could prove catalytic.

Lastly, the existing structure needs revision. Grounds need to be built across underdeveloped areas with facilities at par with those of men, and educational institutions across Pakistan must emphasise developing girls’ school- and college-level cricket. Although the PCB follows an annual domestic calendar for women, the aforementioned factors play a part in determining this structure’s effectiveness. Moreover, the PCB must take steps to augment financial incentives at the departmental level. Girls need to have faith in a future in professional cricket, a future with broad avenues, potential and financial security. Unless these hurdles are addressed, women’s cricket will continue to lag behind.

A prerequisite to achieving anything paramount is to begin development within. Given that Pakistani women still lack access to various professional avenues, serious efforts must be made for women’s cricket. With cricket being our most followed sport, support for women’s cricket can set the ball rolling for other women-inclusive sports to progress.

Even though we have mountains to climb, women’s cricket is more tenacious now than 10 years ago. Girls aspire to lead like Sana Mir, bat like Bismah Maroof and bowl like Aman Amin which in itself signifies notable promise.

The writer is a freelance journalist.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2017


Author Image

Roha Nadeem is a Kuwait-based freelance cricket writer.

After formerly representing Kuwait’s National Under-19 women’s cricket team, she now puts her passion into words. She runs a blog at rohanadym.blogspot.com.

She tweets at @RohaNadym.


The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


Comments (5) Closed



USMAN SHAH Mar 12, 2017 11:48am

i appreciate your work.

sharlone Mar 12, 2017 11:59am

More effort means providing funds to encourage and support women play all over the country. The number of those playing, or having a chance to play is very small compared to the total population of the country. They have to be encouraged to walk out of their homes and into the fields. Unless when majority of women participate, the competition will not be enough to international levels.

Zeeshan zahid Mar 12, 2017 05:19pm

As a non famous sportsman, i believe that need of the hour is to make strategic and planning level shifts in our national and domestic level structures. Talent hunts and basic camps are the key to highlight the country-wide potential available. You guys will be thinking that who is Zeeshan Zahid. I must say that I would have earned a name at a good level, had I applied the right quantum of energy in right direction at the right time. Passion is everything. Just think that you can do it. Only this feel as a sportsman can let you succeed at every stage of the game. When i realised that for a game passion is everything, by then i was probably late. In nutshell; My tip for youngsters would be

Believe in yourself, be passionate and recognise yourself. Sky is the limit

TBh Mar 14, 2017 10:42pm

Flowery with little substance and flow

farha bukhari Mar 15, 2017 12:16am

Roha thanks for excellent article, Pak women team is totally failed and relative. Sifarish and Pirchi system is working, Sana Mir who is captain of Pak team, never won any world class game, bcs she is playing tuk tuk and captain winning inning, she said she is allrounder which is questionable ?? bcs she is very near to some PCB high ups, allowing only her buddies, PCB Sifarish and Pirchi women, Sana Mir her own performance or similar to Pak Man team like Misbah, every facilities Misbah need for himself and families, similarly Sana always rewarded all facilities, her performance are nil and void. she should immediately drop and some young talent to be given captaincy.