Under-19 (U-19) women’s cricket skills camp has just kickstarted at the Lahore Country Club while Pakistan’s National Women Cricket Team will play the Asiad semi-final against Sri Lanka today, in Hangzhou. Chances are that the women’s cricket team will bring the third gold home after the prior two in 2010 and 2014. But it is unfortunate to see minimal coverage and celebration over this achievement of Pakistan’s women’s cricket.
The team has consistently taken part in international contests and represented Pakistan in the emerging field of women’s cricket. It must be appreciated that U-19 talent is being given the opportunity to refine skills just after the internal U-19 T20 tournament where emerging talent got a chance to make it to the field. But the absence of the same zeal and passion as is seen around men’s cricket is somewhat demoralising for women cricketers who, despite all odds, pursue their love for the sport.
All our attention is mostly fixed on the achievements of men’s cricket. The recent announcement of the ICC World Cup squad is proof of that, where social media was buzzing every second with both anticipation and excitement. But it just stole the light away from the national women’s cricket team qualifying for the semis at the Asian Games. The representatives of the cricket board also seem too occupied with the matters concerning men’s cricket and what should ideally have come as a moment of celebration only passed by unnoticed.
The news and media coverage of women’s cricket also reflect the same casualness of the cricket board. Even small events and wins in women’s cricket must be extensively covered and celebrated so that we gradually put in the investment that is needed. More coverage will attract more sponsors. This will motivate the cricketers and help uplift the overall standard of women’s cricket in Pakistan.
The skills camp is a healthy starting point which has opened a window of opportunity for young aspiring girls who wish to play at national and international levels. Moving forward, more resources will have to be dedicated to internal tournaments and such camps so that women’s cricket is as mainstream as men’s cricket. Beyond this, the nation at large also needs to give recognition to women cricketers, to stand up and applaud their victories and to celebrate just as much as men’s cricket is celebrated.