is in effect what the Pakistan Women's Cricket Control Association
cricketers ended up doing during the recently concluded One Day
International series against the Dutch team, which they won comprehensively.
They had invited the Netherlands cricket team, and now that the
Dutch women were coming, they had to go Dutch to play host to them.
far as cricketing prowess was concerned, , they were not playing
and winning against the strongest team in the world, but a team
that is about at par with them
though why the chauvinists/skeptics
want to judge them on that basis is beyond comprehension
look what happened to the Pak. team at the Lord's!. However, these
lines are not just about the cricketing exploits of the women in
flannels during the series against the Dutch
those can be briefly described as under:
day Internationals played. Pakistan won the first 4, Netherlands the
last three. Captain of the Pakistan side, Shaiza Khan emerged as the
best player of the series, having captured 22 wickets at 12.90 apiece.
The Small Wonder" of the team, 13 year old Sajjida Shah topped
the batting average by scoring 134 runs. Rival skipper, Pauline Te
Beest was by far the best player from the opposition camp.
was the manner in which this series finally materialized that makes
for more interesting reading. From the time the Pakistani women
cricketers have donned the flannels, they have had to face a variety
.. from the mullahs (as expected),
from chauvinistic males who simply cannot figure out how and why
a woman can do what a man does, and from rival factions trying to
wrest control of the running of the game in the country
leading to court battles etc.
to be deterred, the group that had taken upon itself to fly the
country's standard high kept working on its efforts to gain national
and international recognition, and was rewarded for its dedication
by gaining life affiliation with the governing body of the game,
IWCC. Credentials in place, these ladies proceeded to build an infrastructure,
and accumulate experience by calling teams to Pakistan and undertaking
for better or for worse, it has to be admitted that money is the
name of the game
.. and somehow, this element they were not
able to inject into their game plan. They were stuck in a chicken
and egg situation wherein they had to ensure success in order to
get the sponsors nodding, but success without the support of sponsorship
was a difficult thing to come by.
This meant that for each venture, they had to dig into their own,
personal pool of resources, which meant that they could not organize
tour on a scale that would generate enough interest and success
so as to attract potential players, audience and sponsors. Hats
off to the girls who still kept on trying to raise the profile of
the game though the holding of camps, establishment of ground and
publication of a dedicated magazine, along side their cricketing
activity, which was acknowledged at he highest level, bringing for
three of their senior-most members, Shaiza, Sharmeen and Kiran,
the membership of the prestigious MCC, and a chance to play in the
first ever match.
the opposition and difficulties they have had to face, they could
simply have latched on to this international affiliation
they were not about to abandon the cause of Pakistan women's cricket,
and redoubled their efforts to promote the game in Pakistan, and planned
to generate interest by holding a series of One Day Internationals
and invited the Dutch team to visit.
it must be acknowledged, that the PCB decided to remove the hurdles
that it had put in their in the past, and agreed to offer them the
National Stadium for the series
.. which included two day/night
matches. In Karachi, the media has always been supportive, guidance
of former players like Hanif Mohammad, Waqar Hasan. This time, they
were further helped through the assistance of Sikander Bakht, who
urged, egged, coached the girls to victory in the series.
the official level too, support and acknowledged was forthcoming,
courtesy the enlightened Sindh Minister for Education, Professor
Anita Ghulam Ali, and both the teams were even invited by the Governor,
Mohammad Mian Soomro as a token of recognition of their efforts
to promote the game. By and large, however, the series passed away
placidly, especially as the promise from the official quarters about
television coverage did not materialize.
that is what the entire sponsorship package hinged on, as the corporate
bodies would have consented to dishing out money even if there was
not a single soul inside the stadium, as long as they could get
the TV camera to home in on their logo
.. after all that is what has been happening
as far as 'men's' cricket is concerned
keep pouring in despite pathetic play and empty stadia.
even after having all this support in place, they were faced with
the million dollar question
. how to cope with the expenses
of the series. Hence began a round of frenetic activity wherein
they not only had to put all the cricketing arrangements in place,
they also had to run after sponsors convincing them not only of
their credentials, their intent, but also the fact that it made
good business sense to support them, and take them to the stage
of critical mass after which they would be able to generate positive
response. On the merit of their own performance.
later, just on the eve of the tour, they literally had to go Dutch
to see that the series takes place, as it was a matter of the country's
prestige. Except for the fact that the Sheraton Hotel made it possible
for them to take care of the guest team in a proper manner, and their
clothing and kit was taken care of, the rest of the expenses were,
like so many times in the past, borne by the United Carpets Group
of Companies, to which two of the team members, Shaiza and Sharmeen
. the reason why I call it going Dutch!