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since 1997 Feb 16

2018 Diary

A Ramble on Women's Cricket
 - with diversions -

This diary will be updated erratically throughout the year.

Previous Page : An Understudy - Maybe Not

 

Sharmeen Khan Dies Aged 46

I had a number of conversations with the sisters, Shaiza and Sharmeen Khan, in the middle and late 90s about the situation regarding women's cricket in Pakistan. Having watched the World Cup Final at Lord's in 1993 (they had a flat very close by) they decided to try and form a team in Pakistan.
This proved, as they undoubtedly expected, to be full of problems, not least the objections of some in their country to women participating in any sport. They also were firmly rebuffed by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
This was in a period when international women's cricket was run by a completely different organisation from the ICC, women's cricket only coming under the ICC's auspices immediately following the end of the 2005 World Cup which was the last tournament run by the totally independent IWCC. 
In 1996 that rather more broadminded organisation welcomed Pakistan under its wing recognising the organisation set up by the sisters as Pakistan's official Board.

Sharmeen Khan]

Sharmeen Khan Representing the MCC in 1998

I heard during the course of several conversations of some of the trials and tribulations that beset them. For example they once described to me how they had received death threats after arranging an overseas tour. The sisters were fortunate to have to hand the necessary funds from their father who was generous enough to give them every encouragement. I asked them how they felt, had they thought of abandoning the tour because of the danger, or had they decided to crash on anyway? They described to me how they made a public announcement that the team would be flying out on a particular day and that they would give a press conference at the airport. They then flew out the day before.  While this was probably a very sensible precaution, it put both their lives in considerable danger on their return but they were not to be thwarted.
One other conversation that comes to mind was them telling me about a girl who had walked for two days and whose feet were bleeding when she arrived at a training camp they had planned. It showed, they contended, that there were girls in Pakistan who would not let anything stand in their way in their desire to play cricket.
I came to admire these sisters and their friend and batsman Kiran Baluch hugely. Can there have ever been two such (perhaps I should say three such) brave and determined individuals in the history of women's cricket? I think not! Sana Mir and the others who follow in their footsteps owe them a debt that it is impossible to repay!