PAKISTAN women’s cricket icon and its finest ambassador Sana Mir has been named one of three representatives for current players on the ICC women’s committee this week. Sana, a former Pakistan captain and leading wicket-taker in women’s ODIs, is joined by Australia’s Lisa Sthalekar and Mithali Raj of India on the committee. Her inclusion is indeed a matter of great prestige for the country. An inspirational figure in Pakistan sports for more than a decade now, Sana has demonstrated grace and panache internationally, and her fine achievements in the sport have earned her many accolades since her debut in 2005. For someone who started playing cricket in the streets, Sana is well aware of the many challenges — far more than what male players have to undergo — that aspiring sportswomen in Pakistan are confronted with as they strive to make their mark. From enduring the neglectful official treatment meted out to women players, poor media coverage and sponsors’ snubs, to having to break rigid societal boundaries and make do with scant facilities, she has weathered many a storm on her way up the ladder. It is for this reason that she is widely expected to bring greater insight and knowledge to the ICC committee, to the benefit of women’s cricket. She has termed her inclusion in the committee as an honour and a very courageous and inclusive step by the ICC that has involved current players in the promotion and development of the game. A quick look at the recent graph of the Pakistan women’s cricket team shows a pragmatic approach as well as the players’ faith in their own ability to do well; this sentiment was apparent in their series win over the West Indies and a drawn series against the formidable South Africa this year.
Apart from cricket, it is heartening to witness the determination and talent of other sportswomen, such as football captain Hajra Khan, athlete Naseem Hameed, swimming’s golden girl Kiran Khan, tennis sensation Ushna Sohail, martial artist Kulsoom Hazara and others performing at the national and international level. Having said that, much more is needed to stir a revolution in women’s sports. It is the responsibility of powerful sports bodies such as the PCB and other federations to ensure adequate facilities at the grass roots, dedicated playgrounds and coaches for women as well as regular events and tours for them to showcase their talent.
Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2019