It was not so long ago when Pakistan Women Cricket team returned home after seven straight defeats at the biggest tournament of Women cricket with nothing ahead of them except ignorance from the nation and ambiguous future.
In such circumstances the only hope for women cricket’s survival could be the young and upcoming pool of talented girls who needed the support of Pakistan Cricket Board to help stepping the team up.
But unfortunately, Pakistan Cricket Board has added insult to injury by announcing new central contracts for Women cricketers. The list of contracts came as a surprise to many as it was not announced officially but secretly given to the favourites and ignored the non-favourites despicably.
Pakistan made a winless exit from Women World Cup 2017, Women Cricketers were unemployed for more than six months, the deserving players were ignored from the World Cup squad and now from the central contract’s list too but no one in PCB is ready to give a word to women cricket
Firstly PCB is too late in announcing the contracts as they were due since January. The previous contracts were expired in December 2016. However, the cliché of ‘better late than never’ no longer fits in here as Pakistan cricket board crossed all heights of favouritism and partiality while awarding the contracts.
Maham Tariq the premier performer is ignored for second consecutive year in the central contract list. She is considered to be the fastest bowler of Pakistan Women Cricket, and is also the consistent performer of the local tournament Mohtarma Fatimah Jinnah National Women Cricket Championship taking nine wickets in five matches including round one and two. She also produced valuable spells in Pakistan’s tour to England and New Zealand in 2016.
Aimen Anwar another talented fast bowler who has been part of recent World Cup qualifiers in Colombo and awarded woman of the match for her match winning spell of 4/23 in the final match of domestic season was firstly ignored from the World Cup squad and now her named also axed from the central contract list.
Kainat Imtiaz who has been in and out from Pakistan team during World Cup despite producing wicket taking spells is also sidelined from the list.
On the other hand Sidra Amin who has not played domestic or international cricket from Pakistan team for about a year is given ‘D’ category contract and Natalia Parvez and Fariha Parvez who never represented Pakistan team internationally are also awarded contracts.
If PCB will not financially support the young players who have made tireless efforts to make it to the national team what hope will be left for them? They will start looking for other career options and the limited pool of women cricketers in Pakistan will shrink further
It signifies that PCB like always sticked to its pick and choose policy while awarding contracts to the women cricketers.
On top of it after the World Cup demise Pakistan team was in a great need of more number of players to become team’s bench strength. PCB, however, moved in the complete opposite direction as the central contracts were given to 15 women cricketers compared to 23 last year and the pool shrinks down to the lowest of all time.
Although in recent contracts PCB has come up with five categories compared to last year with an additional ‘E’ category comprised of emerging players, but what logic led the board part 15 players into five categories is questionable.
The more we read about ambiguities and vagueness of Pakistan women cricket team the more it boils down to the fact that women cricket is the least important entity in PCB’s priority list.
Pakistan made a winless exit from Women World Cup 2017, Women Cricketers were unemployed for more than six months, the deserving players were ignored from the World Cup squad and now from the central contract’s list too but no one in PCB is ready to give a word to women cricket.
It’s high time for PCB to pay attention to the women cricket before its too late. Why can’t they learn a lesson from our neighbours who have recently beaten the six time World Champions in Women World Cup and played their hearts out in the final proving the world their ability and strength.
India has inducted many young players like Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma, Smriti Mandhana and other youngsters who have strengthened the team to match the international standards. Pakistan Cricket Board on the other hand sidelined the talented young girls like Aimen Anwar, Maham Tariq and others.
If PCB will not financially support the young players who have made tireless efforts to make it to the national team what hope will be left for them? They will start looking for other career options and the limited pool of women cricketers in Pakistan will shrink further.
We should have long term planning, strong domestic systems, unbiased selection and financial support to achieve positive results. Pakistan Women Cricket is in an era where it could either revive or diminish completely if not given the attention and priority.