“My elder brother did not want me to play cricket but I wanted to play at the university level. I asked newsmen to not name me in their coverage of our matches because I was afraid that if he found out, I would not be allowed to continue playing,” all-rounder Nida Dar of Pakistan’s women cricket team said on Thursday.
She was speaking at a meet-and-greet event organised for the team by The Last Word, Girls at Dhabas and Zeb Bangash of Zeb and Haniya.
The girls spoke about the dedication required to play the game amidst strict societal norms and opposition from family members.
Team captain Sana Mir said, “Support for the team during the recent T20 series was overwhelming. It was something the girls had never experienced before.”
Mir said it was important to inculcate confidence in girls. “Appreciation and attention can help a team deliver better performances.”
“It has taken a long time for the public and the Pakistan Cricket Board to take the team as seriously as our male counterparts,” she said.
“Many people don’t know that the women’s cricket team has been a high performing team from the very beginning,” Mir said.
“The idea that a woman can be professional and dedicated as a man seems incomprehensible to many people in our society,” she said.
Mir said she had toyed with the idea of giving up cricket many times. “A united team and a supportive family have kept me going.”
“Some people used to discourage us saying that there was no future or money in this profession. We never played for money. We play because we have passion and energy.”
Coach Mohtashim Rasheed said the enthusiasm of young players in the cricket team had helped the team perform well over the years.
“They have an eagerness to keep improving. This does not seem to be the case for newcomers in men’s cricket team.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2016.