as captain of pakistan Bismah Maroof came out of the team bus Ahead of the thrilling India vs Pakistan clash at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, she nodded as she prepared to return with baby Fatima in her arms.
The game is not devoid of stories that involve an inspiring comeback after motherhood. But being able to do that as a professional cricketer in the subcontinent is a different matter. the fact that she was doing it at a mega-event like ICC Women’s One Day Cricket World Cup 2022 made it more prestigious.
The World Cup showed that the Pakistan women’s cricket team still has work to do on the field but it is safe to say that they are taking some right steps. Off-the-field when it comes to policy-making and making provisions for its contracted players.
in an interview with scroll.in, Bismah opened up about her return, the work-life balance given to her by the Pakistan Cricket Board’s policy, her approach to Pakistan and women’s cricket and her time at the Fairbreak Invitational Tournament, where she is playing for Spirit – Baby Fatima With, of course.
Excerpts from an email interview with Scroll.in:
Your World Cup campaign was special For reasons that go beyond the field – to be able to travel with baby Fatima, your first assignment since maternity leave, to lead Pakistan as captain. Can you tell us your feelings as a professional cricketer and as a mother during the campaign?
I have traveled a lot in my career of 16 years and played a lot of cricket including various World Cups but this time the sentiment was different. It was a little more precious as I was returning to cricket as a mother. Whenever I used to go to practice or matches with Fatima in my lap, I used to get goosebumps.
I did it with great pride and mission to inspire young girls to take up any sport and to encourage their families to encourage their daughters to pursue their dreams. It was a great experience and I will keep doing it till I get fit and my body supports me.
As the PCB introduced maternity provisions and medical allowances into their central contracts, what other structural changes should the ICC and boards adopt to make the game more accessible to women, especially in the sub-continent?
I am grateful to the Pakistan Cricket Board for introducing these maternity provisions and medical facilities, which helped me a lot to pursue my career post motherhood and maintain a balance between my career and maternity duties. I would also like to thank ICC and Fairbreak for the way they supported me in taking my daughter Fatima with them.
I want this to be sustained in the future so that more female athletes get this support in the future. I heard I won’t be able to take my daughter with me Commonwealth Games as their policies Do not allow players to take any family member with them. I would like to highlight this and request all relevant organizations to introduce and revise policies to help develop women’s sport … at least for mothers who have children. Children cannot live without mother.
You returned, scored runs for your team and dedicated them to your baby girl during a World Cup match. At some point, did you have a hope that it inspires women cricketers to maintain work-life balance and dedicate their lives to both sports and family?
Yes, there was hope. And, that celebration The aim is to inspire the younger generation. Convince them that anything is possible if you are determined and if you have the support. There was also a message for support systems – that their support can help women work wonders even after they get married or have given birth.
As someone who has seen so much progress in women’s cricket during your career, what is your vision for Pakistan cricket to grow further in the future?
I think things have changed a lot from the time I started playing cricket. Now, women have contracts, match fees and a lot more domestic and international cricket to play. After all these facilities are being planned on the ground level testing and programs, PCB is taking good steps to help women’s cricket grow. If this is done consistently then I can see a bright future for Pakistan women’s cricket.
Diana Baig and Fatima Sana are some of the young talents from Pakistan playing at Fairbreak – what do you think of this opportunity for them?
Diana and Fatima are two wonderful individuals and team players. At a very young age, he has got the opportunity to play in a league like Fairbreak where players from around 33 countries are participating. This is something that will help him a lot in his future cricket as well as for the Pakistan team.
If you had any advice to give him based on your own experience, what would it be to make sure he continues to work for Pakistan for many years?
I tell them to always stay focused and consistent with their attitude and determination, seize every little opportunity to learn and grow and give their best.
What does playing at an event like Fairbreak mean to you and to women’s cricket in general?
To be honest, this is a great opportunity for every cricketer who has participated in it. We have been able to meet many different players from different countries with different mindsets and views. Hence, it is a great opportunity to learn and share each other’s experiences and understand the difficulties faced by women cricketers. Thanks to everyone involved in making Fairbreak a huge success, this is undoubtedly a great initiative.
I think it’s great that countries like Brazil and the Philippines are being represented at Fairbreak. What more do you think can be done to promote the sport?
Since allies don’t get more international cricket than full members, I just want to harmonize it so that they get more opportunities to play with and against top players from around the world.
‘या लेखात समाविष्ट असलेल्या कोणत्याही माहिती/सामग्री/गणनाची अचूकता किंवा विश्वसनीयता हमी नाही. ही माहिती विविध माध्यमे / ज्योतिषी / पंचांग / प्रवचन / विश्वास / धर्मग्रंथांमधून गोळा करून तुमच्यासाठी आणली गेली आहे. आमचा हेतू फक्त माहिती पोहोचवणे आहे, त्याच्या वापरकर्त्यांनी ती फक्त माहिती म्हणून घ्यावी. याव्यतिरिक्त, त्याचा कोणताही वापर वापरकर्त्याची स्वतःची जबाबदारी असेल. ‘
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