National Commission on the Status of Women

Government of Pakistan

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Footprints: Maiden overs

Jun 13, 2017

THE girl tells her parents that she won’t be back till early morning — and they don’t seem worried. From the safe environs of her home, she drives down to a public park where there are several others like her, all set to break their curfews. They will be alright. It’s the girls’ night out playing tape ball cricket.

Cricket — the centuries-old gentleman’s sport — saw women stepping on the turf first in the 1700s and then more formally in 1926. After getting recognition by the International Cricket Council, too, today there are women’s wings in every cricket board of a playing country, including Pakistan. This country, which has a fine women’s cricket team, also has to its credit the cricket-playing kit for women: before Pakistani women started playing the game, female cricketers played in skirts. That was unacceptable to Pakistan’s women’s cricket team, headed by the pioneering Shaiza Khan in the 1990s, so her team was allowed to play wearing trousers. Soon, other women’s teams followed suit.

It is inspiring to watch the Pakistan women’s team. But not every girl who wants to play cricket can be a part of it. There is a whole process in place to get you there. It requires hard work and patience and even after that there are many broken hearts, the result of insufficient skills or fitness. Politics in sports also kill the fun. Even so, the key word should remain ‘fun’, something which is often forgotten along the way.

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