Dearest Sana Mir,
We don’t see you as a bowler a cricketer or a sportsperson anymore, we see you as the most wonderful revolution that came to Pakistan and as phase of dynamism that happened not just to Pakistan and Pakistan cricket but to women’s cricket as a whole. We no more see you only as a person who belongs to Pakistan but also as someone who belongs to women’s cricket. I know when you stepped into cricket or when you even must have seen the dream of playing cricket for Pakistan, there were a lot of things that must have tried to stop you and that it all came as obstacles, but I also know that nothing could have stopped you and it really did not. You were there to stay, to make sure millions of Pakistanis and women all over the world see their dreams through your eyes and one day stand where you are today. On the 22 yards, singing the national anthem of Pakistan looking up to the national flag and I know seeing it wave high is the greatest motivation too. But today I want to tell you with all my heart that you are a great motivation too.
You came, you saw you stayed and you conquered all that was a mere dream for many and accelerated what was needed and today it is you whom we cricket fans celebrate, and thank you for that. I know naming your achievements and swearing over your statistics must have become cliché now, and so I really want to remember a few dates. A few dates that not only influenced your career or cricket in Pakistan but changed things. Changed Women’s cricket.
5TH JANUARY, 1986
SUNDAY, ABBOTTABAD, PAKISTAN.
The Pathans were elated to welcome a new member to their family, Sana Mir. 1986, back then cricket was never considered to be something that could be turned into a profession and talking about women’s cricket, it was never in the scene as well. Who could have even thought how things would shape and that Pakistan was about to get its most influential and loved cricketer? What began at the age of 5 in the streets with her brother would one day become a story each cricketer would want to know about. What began as a passion would one day become an inspiration. Who knew about anything that was about to happen, who knew Sana Mir, was about to become The Sana Mir?
But coming from the very conservative society of Pakistan and dealing with the mindset and prevailing ideologies of people, it was never going to be easy. Sana’s dream was never just hers. It was the dream and the revolution demanded by those millions of girls not just in Pakistan but all around the world who wanted to live their every moment on the 22 Yards. Culture, Limits and acceptance is what she challenged to be where she is today. Today, standing as the greatest woman cricketer of Pakistan.
And flourishing out of these social barriers and mentality, there were sure some water shed moments too. Some life changing decisions and many sacrifices too. Soon the time came when she had to choose between Cricket and Engineering. And one would not be surprised when she finally made the decision. A decision which not only changed her life, but came as a revolution, a change, an inspiration and the strength to everyone around aspiring to take up cricket especially in Pakistan.
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28TH DECEMBER, 2005
PAKISTAN VS SRI LANKA, KARACHI, PAKISTAN.
Struggling in the conservative culture and orthodox mindset of the people was the women’s cricket in Pakistan. An environment in which even surviving was difficult then maybe flourishing would be an ultimate task of grit, determination, and a very hard fought battle. A battle with the social demons, the mental barriers and testing oneself as well. Putting to test one’s dedication, patience and testing how far one can go to live their dream.
A 19 year old lady, stepping into this society to fight for her dreams, to become a medium for millions others to pursue their dreams, to play for Pakistan. It was the first match of the Women’s Asia Cup at the National Stadium, Karachi and it was a battle between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Sana Mir, stepped out on to the turf in the green jersey, singing her first ever national anthem being a part of the national team, being playing for cricket Pakistan. The Sri Lanka women won the toss and elected to bat first and Sana finished with the bowling figures of 4-1-19-0. Though, Pakistan could not win that match, who knew Pakistan cricket was about to get one of the most celebrated cricketers of Pakistan and greatest of all the time. Who knew back then that this 19 year old debutant would one day change things for ever in Pakistan cricket?
12th JUNE, 2009
COUNTY GROUND, TAUNTON, SOMERSET, ENGLAND
4 years down the line and the young 23 year old gun was all set to lead Pakistan in the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 championship hosted by England. Being handed the captaincy on 4th May, 2009 Sana had also been the vice captain before that and it was time to unfold a new chapter in her life and time to discover a whole new book in that case for the Pakistan cricket. Mir in her first match as a captain against Sri Lanka women spun the toss and won it to elect to bat first and reflected the bowling figures of 3.2-1-24-0. Though Pakistan could not reach the knock out stage in the tournament, it seemed like Pakistan had got not a captain but a leader, a leader who was there to revolutionize.
Mir was further retained as a captain for the upcoming ICC Women’s Cricket Challenge in South Africa.
19th NOVEMBER 2010, GUANZHOU, CHINA
After a subjugating performance in the whole tournament beating Thailand, China and Japan in the Round 16, Quarter finals and semi finals respectively, Pakistan Women’s cricket team stormed into the finals against Bangladesh. Played on 19th November at the Guangdong international cricket stadium, Guangdong. Sana Mir, the captain spun the toss and won it to put Bangladesh to bat. Bangladesh’s innings was wrapped up for 92 runs all out. And Sana’s bowling figures were 4-0-23-2. Wouldn’t be wrong to say that the captain led from the front. A final battle and Pakistan came with all guns blazing to get Pakistan its first gold medal at the tournament. With the summer floods and other controversies one cannot agree more when the Pakistan President said that “it was a gift to the nation riding on a series of crisis”.
There was never looking back since your debut and it never came as a surprise when you were declared as the most successful captain of Pakistan when you won the national championship for the fourth time in a row straight and when you also led Pakistan to their first ever tournament win in the T20 and ODI when you played in Sri Lanka in 2011. Not to forget the Player of the match for your 2-1-4-1 in the quadrangular series final against Netherlands. After all, you have never failed to give us reasons to keep celebrating you, to keep celebrating the cricketer we all have. How do I fail to mention how phenomenal have you been over the years and how has cricket especially in Pakistan flourished having you. It was a great moment and a moment of pride when Pakistan qualified for the 2012 T20 World Cup and the 2013 ODI world Cup under your captaincy and how Pakistan beat South Africa for the first time ever and improving their world ranking from 8th to the 6th, under your captaincy.
You started when it all seemed hazy and cleared visions, created visions. You never failed to express and impressing came along. Leading Pakistan to two gold medal wins in 2010 and 2011 but never compromising with domestic cricket too. And we saw that when the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) women’s team won their second BB title and the eighth national championship under your captaincy. A leader we know not only makes you win, but makes you capable enough to see how you can make your team win and you did the same when after the conclusion of the European tour in 2013, Pakistan beat England for the first time in any format and also leveled the T20 series winning 11 matches in a row. You not only led Pakistan to victories but brought out the best and supported each player to see the best in themselves and that is why 6 of them were named in the ICC Top 20 Rankings.
But who could have failed to see what you have achieved and how you have literally fought so hard over the years, I am pretty sure every cricket fan and cricket must have been extremely elated when you became the first ever Pakistani Women Cricketer to be felicitated with the PCB Woman Cricketer Of The Year Award 2013 and also the first one to be awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz Award on 23rd March 2012 for your unconditional and phenomenal services to cricket. If words could express how proud we feel when you take stands for your principles in any situation and not just inspire us as a cricketer but as a person too, I had write it all to you.
MS Dhoni and Virat Kolhi are your favorites and now you have become one for millions too. It was 2017, when you stood in your 100th match for the women in green and for your nation and well, the streets of Pindi is what we had forever be grateful to. When in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, you were the highest run getter for Pakistan; we knew how giant and crucial contribution of yours really is. Being one of the only seven women in the 1000 runs and 100 wickets club is astounding.
There is no doubt about you being the best in what you do, and being the number 1 inspiration, the number 1 motivation, the number 1 leader, the number One. Rankings don’t speak one’s success; they speak one’s journey to success and you now being the #1 in ICC ODI Bowler rankings for having the most wickets that is 44 in 27 matches with 26 maiden overs at an average of 20.97 and economy of 4.01 and the best bowling figures of 4/25 in ICC Championships simply reflects how you’ve been a central idea of success, a vision in yourself and a mission about making sure Pakistan cricket and women’s cricket just keeps flourishing.
Forever learning, seeing dreams through your eyes,
A cricket Fan.
The 22 Yard stretch that molded me, is what I hold sacred. A cricketer weaving life’s innings into words. A Rohit Sharma Admirer always. I believe writing and cricket aren’t passions, but ways of life, so truly living the dream!