Celebrating a sportswoman



At a time when mercurial cricketer Shahid Afridi has caused a debate to rage on the role of women in sports, it is heartening to see a woman cricketer from Pakistan offering a reply of sorts to Afridi. While Mr Afridi is sticking to his point of view, there is quite a pushback from the social media users – across the gender divide – some of whom have put up a video of Egyptian footballer MoSalah whose cute little daughter is filmed playing on the field as her father looks on smiling, with a trophy in hand, showing the adamant cricketer another way as to how daughters should be treated and encouraged if they show a tendency towards sports.

Women cricket team’s former captain and spinner Sana Mir has become the most successful spinner in ODI format of the game. She now has claimed 146 wickets in one-dayers, highest by any spinner in the world. Earlier, she was the first Pakistani women cricketer to claim the number one position in the International Cricket Council’s ODI bowler rankings. Since her ODI debut back in 2005, Mir has represented Pakistan in 118th ODIs.

Previously as captain of the team, she was instrumental in making the team a well-knit unit as well as encouraging and grooming so many girls who now are part of the squad and making the country proud by their performances in the international arena.

Pakistan’s woman cricket team has lately shown some promise. Not only have they levelled a series against the tough-looking South Africa on their home grounds, they also have beaten the West Indian women in their recent tour to Pakistan. In South Africa, where Mir achieved this feat, all the players played like a professional outfit and drew a series that at one stage looked to be out of their hands.

All this is happening when sportswomen in Pakistan have complained of unfavourable circumstances. Training and other facilities for women cricketers are far from ideal. Their remuneration is not at par with what the male cricketers make in this country. Even sponsors are not interested in investing in women sports. Eventually, media too looks the other way even when our indomitable women cricketers give world-class performances.

Mir’s journey from a street cricketer to a star performer epitomizes the difficulties that any sportswoman has to face when she chooses sports as her career in Pakistan. All those girls aspiring to pursue sports have a champion of their cause in Sana Mir.