Who says women can’t play cricket?

Published: December 8, 2012
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I am currently focusing on just Kuwait. However, my ultimate destiny is to wear a green cap and play for Pakistan. PHOTO: ROHA NADEEM

I am standing on the field, eyes glued to the ball that is coming towards me with an unusual scooting speed. ‘I can take it. That’s mine.’ I say to myself. I judge the ball and see my team-mates gleefully run towards me as the ball inescapably settles in my hands.

I roar triumphantly as I see the opposing batsman walk back towards the pavilion.

Oh cricket, how I love this game!

I was that typical Pakistani girl who grew up watching her father, uncles, cousins and friends enjoy cricket. However, it took me a good few years to get used to it.

It all boiled down to the inaugural T20 world cup that took place in 2007. The nation was whistling and humming as Pakistan made it to the finals. Although, I had pretty much no sense about the game then – being a patriot at heart, I was quite ecstatic myself. Having lost the final to India, the amount of buzz this tournament created nevertheless left me wondering how enjoyable this sport can actually be. That’s what gave rise to a cricket devotee inside me.

Through the years, I wholeheartedly changed myself into an avid cricket follower by watching cricket. I loved reading cricket books too and I believe they helped me understand cricket through a broader perspective. Cricket was all I did, see, watch, talk and read.

Being recklessly in love with the game, getting an opportunity to play for Kuwait was something I couldn’t shut my eyes upon. Yes, it came as a challenge, but I was ready for it.

To be quite honest, my family initially had no hopes of me excelling at the game. They were rather uncertain because of the tough physical demands of cricket training. Sitting at home and watching was one thing. Going on the field and playing was another.

On the other hand, my parents were specifically concerned about cricket affecting my studies in the long run. They made sure I gave all my devotion to school before anything else. For them, cricket stood second. They encouraged me throughout my trials and training, although, at the back of their minds they were somehow still reluctant about the whole thing. The most strenuous part of my journey was convincing my parents that I could do well at cricket.

Being a girl, the challenges doubled.

The training was way more fatiguing than I thought. I am not a morning person but when it came to cricket, I remember waking up at 4am for practice. Moreover, as the tournament came nearer, trainings in Ramadan brought out the most demandingly exhausting part of the job.

On the contrary, senior players in the team kept me motivated throughout. I remember spending some memorable yet mischievous moments with my team-mates both on and off the field. There were days when we used to skip practice and go partying instead, much to our coach’s annoyance!

Furthermore, I am greatly thankful to my coaches for bringing out the best in me through these months of practise. As a beginner, I felt under-confident at times. I was constantly doubting my place in the team and questioning, if I was able to play up to their expectations. But they had always been motivating and encouraging.

“Do you play as well as men?”

“Doesn’t playing cricket make you look masculine?”

These are some of the most frequently asked questions that I encounter, when I tell people I am a female cricketer. They seem pretty amazed at the idea of ‘female cricketers’ and their level of amazement is doubled when they realise that I don’t carry the ‘tom-boy’ look that majority of female athletes do.

A major misinterpretation people hold about female cricketers is that they lose their feminine charm. I usually get that as well, as to how can I carry my ‘girly’ looks and play cricket at the same time? To which, I have no answers. I reckon it’s all about how one carries oneself.

On a lighter note, female cricketers can be good-looking too.

I have currently taken a short gap from professional cricket ahead of my academic engagements; however I look forward to resuming cricket next summer.

As I have been residing in Kuwait, I am currently focusing on just Kuwait. However, my ultimate destiny is to wear a green cap and play for Pakistan. On my Singapore tour in 2010, we played against some amazing women teams such as, Hong Kong, Bhutan, China and Singapore. The toughest team had to be Nepal. Their women team is nothing close to what their women look like!

Although, we lost some of the major games and were not able to qualify for the semis, I believe that tour was an excellent learning experience for me. It had by then, struck me that I needed to work way harder and make myself as fine as these women cricketers.

Talking of which, I greatly admire Sana Mir, the serving captain of the Pakistan Women cricket team and dream of playing under her someday.

For a girl my age, that’s quite a rare wish, but that’s what cricket does to you!

Read more by Roha here, or follow her on Twitter @RohaNadym

Roha Nadeem

Roha Nadeem

An aspiring A' level student crazily in love with cricket, Roha is a budding writer who enjoys interacting with people. She tweets as @RohaNadym

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • https://twitter.com/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    Awesome! I hope you play for the national team some day! Recommend

  • J.K

    Do you live in Pakistan or Kuwait?
    However, a very motiational nice article. Well done!!Recommend

  • Pessimist

    Hey, I like your dedication and commitment. Keep it up. As a pessimist, I am rather optimistic about your chances! :/Recommend

  • osama

    i wish you the very best;
    i wanted to be a cricketer just like every other pakistani male :)
    i hope you make it!!Recommend

  • Waqas

    Women can only play if they are islamic dressed. Poor non-muslim
    Pakistani girls, how they are forced to cover their legs!Recommend

  • http://syedaabidabokhari.wordpress.com/ The Only Normal Person Here.

    All the best. And I hope people start taking female cricket team seriously.Recommend

  • http://pakistani-revival.blogspot.com Ovais

    Sana Mir FTW Recommend

  • Eff

    Wish you all the best for your future as an international cricketer. Just curious but what is your playing role in the team? I just googled your name and saw a scorecard for the match between Kuwait U-19 vs Singapore U-19 where you were slotted in to bat at number 11 and didn’t bowl so was just curious! :)Recommend

  • Irtaza

    What are you doing outside the kitchen?

    Just kidding.

    Great ,but woman cricket lacks the intensity and passion present in the male sport.Women are better of swimming or playing tennis but leave cricket to the guys.Don’t taint it and make it unattractive and ordinary.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/896/ayesha-pervez/ Ayesha Pervez

    Im totally for girls who do sports … Im into a number of sports myself umm not at a professional level though :D You go!Recommend

  • http://www.propertyassociates.info Ali Naveed

    my opinion women can play any game …and they know better what they can do and what they cant ….there is non debate in fact.Ali from London [email protected] Recommend

  • http://theaalishan.com Aalishan

    would be great to see you wear green cap :)Recommend

  • Awais

    No offence but all women I’ve seen play Cricket or Football are “Tom-boys” and I thought that’s always the case. But Roha has proven me wrong. She is really beautiful and a Cricketer! She is to Women’s cricket what Imran was to men’s I guess; guys will tune in just for her ;)
    Wish you all the success! and we hope to see you playing for Pakistan soon :)Recommend

  • Dr. Amyn Malik

    I don’t think girls lose their girly charm when they play sports and here I am talking especially about cricket as that is what the article talks about.

    Would love to see you in Paki colors soon! Good luck! Recommend

  • Patient Rehman Malik

    Girls- Crickets… dont go very well…agreed. @ Dr. Amyn MalikRecommend

  • fynk

    Very-well written Roha!
    Keep writing and be an inspiration to all the female youth out there who requires through guidance to the path of success and equality. Hats-off to you! Bravo. I wonder if ifor once I could dig-in my nose to sniff those under arms after a long- good game.Recommend

  • Farooq

    No doubt Pakistani women are facing tremendous problems ,almost every stage of life.In spite of that women are playing a significant role in our society, almost in every field of life whether it is education or sport field, women proved their abilities in very well manner.after the media situation is changed but still need to improve status of women in every aspect.Recommend

  • Fathima Sara

    Well Said Roha..!

    I am seriously surprised about yur wordigs..I hope all girls be just like yu..With Confidence and strength…!!Recommend

  • abc

    “On a lighter note, female cricketers can be good-looking too”

    Clearly you can testify to this statement. What a pretty girl :)Recommend

  • http://cricket-phobia.blogspot.com/ khabir uddin mughal

    Wish you all the best for your future as an international cricketer. and as captain of pakistan women’s cricket team for the world cup,Recommend