Bisma Amjad reveals Struggle of Women Cricketers in Pakistan

Aspiring international cricketer Bisma Amjad has revealed the struggle of women to play cricket and the extreme lengths she went to.

Bisma Amjad reveals Struggle of Women Cricketers in Pakistan f

"I had no option than to dress like a man"

While more women are getting into sports, it still remains an issue in Pakistan as Bisma Amjad reveals.

She aspires to play international cricket and was picked for Pakistan’s under-19 World Cup squad.

But when the Covid-19 pandemic came, there was nowhere for her to practise because she was a woman.

Bisma then decided to dress as a man to play alongside male cricketers in the street game, ‘gully cricket’.

The 19-year-old explained: “Boys used to play gully cricket even during the pandemic.

“But the movement of girls was restricted, so we couldn’t play at all.

“I had no option than to dress like a man and practise with them.”

In some parts of Karachi, Bisma hears comments such as “your skin will turn darker” or “it is a boys game and you are wasting your time. Do a course that will help you after marriage”.

Bisma Amjad said that many girls from conservative families dress like boys so they can play cricket.

She told The Guardian: “A friend of mine has chopped her hair off so she could go and play without being known as she is a girl.

“Women who play sport have to struggle a lot in our society.”

Bisma’s father supported her and took her to matches. However, when he became ill, she temporarily stopped playing.

“After my father recovered and I got his permission, I learned to ride a bike so I could commute on my own.”

But cycling led to other problems as she revealed:

“Men would say ‘look, look, she is riding a bike. She used to wear a headscarf, what happened to her?’

“I give my savings to my parents to show that I earn some money. I keep telling them, give me a few months more, I will prove it.”

Her parents have now given her one year to make the national team otherwise she will have to quit cricket.

Bisma Amjad was selected to play in the under-19 World Cup in 2021 but it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

She now has to keep playing first-class cricket to have any hope of making the national team.

A women’s edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is expected to happen.

The news delighted the Pakistan women’s cricket captain, Javeria Khan.

She said: “That is very welcoming since it would encourage more women to play cricket.

“Men have a lot of such tournaments where they can show their talents but women do not have such opportunities.

“Here, a woman has to work twice as hard as a man to prove her talent.”

“Gender discrimination exists all over the world, but in Asia, the issue is more rampant.”

Javeria stated that when the PCB began work on the structure of women’s cricket, players started getting contracts.

She continued: “When you see incentives in the profession, then you invest for it too.

“PCB has been doing talent-hunt programmes and sending teams all over the country.”

Javeria considers herself lucky despite coming from the rural area of Torghar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

She added: “My father took pride in me and he used to tell people in our village when my match would take place. They would listen to it on the radio.

“All families should support their daughters to play cricket and sports.

“Culture is a huge hindrance but we can fight that with education.”

However, former PCB chairman Najam Sethi says:

“Even urban families are not inclined to send their daughters into professional sport, forget about rural areas.

“Now with school cricket dying out – [because of] land scarcity and expenses – prospects of women in sports are not good.”

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”