Women’s cricket is something which has struggled a lot before flourishing into a profession and this journey or phase from passion to profession is something very valuable and worth all the appreciation, recognition and all the support that can further encourage millions of women out there to not only think of cricket as a dream but a career, a profession and a secured one that. We all have known the importance of recognition where attention has been ever due, but what we have failed to understand is why it is so important and what can be the consequences if we or the professional bodies fail to provide this assistance.
Cricket in Pakistan, especially women’s cricket has evolved over the years in way which has not only proved to bring out the best of talent in world cricket but has thrashed the conservatism that had been prevailing and it surely is not an easy journey at all. Struggles make good stories but the in depth of these struggles is what should be embraced and appreciated in the optimum way.
Stepping into a campaign like the ICC Women’s World Twenty20, the highest stage of contest after the ODI World cup, without any contacts from the national board (PCB) not only has left the players feeling insecure about the financial assurance but also tells us about the lack of facilities and the duties that have not been duly met. There was a recent change in the leadership of the Pakistan Cricket Board which has been the reason behind this delay. According to the contract structure, the women cricketers are contracted on a six month basis that is twenty in the first half of the year and another twenty in the next. The PCB has failed to prepare a well structured contract plan which has led to damage in the implementation of the same due to which the team has been unpaid since over six months. It was observed that the contract payments from July-December 2018 are due because the contract payments could not be signed off before Pakistan left for Bangladesh. A failed implementation of these contracts under Najam Sethi has made way for Ehsan Mani’s PCB. The cricketers receive monthly salaries from their domestic sides back in Pakistan and daily expense allowances which was around US$50.
It was noted that the players would be signing their new contracts as well would be paid their due salaries after the conclusion of the world cup in the Caribbean after Pakistan’s former captain Bismah Maroof had a word with the board regarding this issue. It was also mentioned that the new contract structure will be focusing the most on performance and fitness of the cricketers. However, the consequences of this failed implementation and administrative issues can be directly seen on the field as well because this insecurity in the profession does affect a player’s performance as well and that pressure can be one reason why Pakistan was not up to the mark in the World T20. A recent report from the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) also reflected the health of the women’s sport and how it has been held back due to a culture of insecurity and how it does not let the women’s game grow the way it should. It also stated how only countries like Australia and England are in a position to provide a proper base for the establishment and growth of women’s cricket.
An irregular pay scale not only shows the failure of board structure but also tells us how big a role it plays on the mind of these players. For women’s cricket to be seen as a well established profession, these issues are to be resolved at the earliest or else not only would discourage aspiring cricketers but also hold back the progress which has been ever due for women’s cricket.
Mentioning Pakistan cricket in particular, it has emerged from a string of cultural and social issues and has come this far after a very long fought battle with the then existing conservatism culture in Pakistan. It is not just about being unpaid for over six months, but it clearly shows the loopholes in the system we have failed to establish for women’s cricket and how it affects the cricketer’s minds that have to fight both on field and also with such insecurities. There is a constant fear of being dropped when the management keeps making changes at very short intervals and with the level of prevailing competition in world cricket, where each player wants to prove themselves as extraordinary, such loopholes come as a demotivation and affect the cricketer’s game very negatively as well.
It is high time these issues are given the top most priority and this journey of women’s cricket becoming a profession from a phase when imagining it as a passion was also not encouraged much is meant to be respected the most.
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!