sports

Girls bat and bowl for equality

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Australian High Commissioner of Pakistan Neil Hawkins lauded the parents for supporting their daughters to play cricket, as he addressed the Girl’s Cup Karachi ceremony, where Agha Khan Girl’s Secondary School lifted the trophy after the one-day event.

The tournament was held in collaboration between the Australian High Commission, the Jalal Uddin Cricket Academy and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), and this was the third edition since 2019.

Meanwhile, in the press release from the Australian High Commission, it was highlighted that the event was organised to promote gender equality and empower girls through enabling them to participate in one of Pakistan’s favourite sports – cricket. 

Nasra School Korangi Campus were the runners-up at the end of the day. They lost to Agha Khan Girl’s Secondary School by 10 wickets.

The High Commissioner also added that women should come forward and thrive in every walk of life, meanwhile Test cricketer Fawad Alam was also present at the ceremony and gave away the prizes.

On the other hand, former Test cricketer and level four coach Jalaluddin said that coaching women is vastly different from coaching boys as it takes a lot more consideration. He shared that women’s cricket is thriving in Pakistan as there are more girls coming to the sports.

“There is a difference when it comes to training women from boys. When I was coming from England after receiving training as coach four days ago, it was related to women’s cricket and development. Otherwise, I am a level four coach,” Jalal Uddin told The Express Tribune. He is also the chairperson of the Jalal Uddin Cricket Academy.

He said that safety and security are the main and regular hurdles faced by women playing cricket in Pakistan.

“The biggest problem that women face is the safety and security that we must manage. Our academy deals with it. Parents only allow their girls to play once they get the sense that their daughters will be safe.

“These days women's cricket is receiving a lot of enthusiasm. Parents and girls are motivated a lot, so girls are coming to play. There was a time when it was more of an issue in the upper areas of the countries where they were discouraged to play but overall, in Pakistan, there is a lot of improvement now and girls participate fully. They feel safe and secure now.

“As for coaching, the girls are coached differently, their psyche is different, and their issues are different than boys, so we keep all of that in mind.”

He said that the Girl’s Cup was held to empower women and the scope is to work on grassroots level and to motivate girls to play cricket. 

“We did five sessions of coaching in the featured schools. But our academy has given lots of cricketing talent to the national side, like Urooj Shah, Sana Fatima, Rameen Shamim, Kainat Imtiaz. They initially trained at our academy,” said Jalal Uddin.

Each team played with each other and the top two played for the first and second positions and the other two for the third and fourth positions, respectively.

Senior journalist Javed Iqbal added that Jalal Uddin, who bagged the first-ever hat-trick in ODI cricket, has been giving back to the country.

“The Australian High Commission has been sponsoring girls’ cricket in Pakistan since 2016,” Australia’s High Commissioner to Pakistan, Neil Hawkins, said in the press statement released aside from the words at the ceremony.

“We began with a single annual tournament in Islamabad but then expanded to Lahore and in Karachi.

“Our countries share a passion for cricket, and a key interest of Australia in Pakistan is to support gender equality so we’re very pleased to support this event. Cricket and other sports can help tear down barriers and stereotypes. Every time these girls hit a boundary or take a catch, they are taking a step towards greater equality.”

He thanked the schools – Nasra Public School, Dawood Public School, Agha Khan Higher Secondary School, and Ismail Academy – for joining the event and paid tribute to the contribution made by JCA and PCB.

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