The Story of a Journalist who Wears Hijab on TV and is breaking stereotypes – Naasira Mohammed

She is a cricket journalist, an experienced communication executive, a media and content person, and above all, she is a die-hard cricket fan. She lives to follow cricket, West Indies Cricket to be precise. 

Meet Naasira Mohammed, who is currently the Media and Content Officer of the West Indies Women’s Cricket Team and has held the same position on the West Indies Men’s Cricket Team in 2018. She was the first woman to ever hold that position on the men’s team in its 92-year history. Her passion for women’s cricket and West Indies cricket is unmatchable. And why do we say that? You are going to find out soon. 

 

Female Cricket interviews Naasira Mohammed
Female Cricket interviews Naasira Mohammed

 

1. Tell us about your tryst with cricket. You played for your college cricket team and now you don the role of a media person. How has the journey been?

My journey has been nothing but a blessing that I am able to live out a childhood dream, which is working and being a part of West Indies cricket. I played at Uni when I attended the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. This journey has also allowed me to travel the world and experience first-hand the love that the West Indies teams receive from fans.

2. What made you choose sports journalism?

I’ve always loved sports, it was the one thing and still is the one thing other than books to occupy my time. So when the opportunity arose I had no hesitation in accepting at first a training position as a sports journalist and then I went on to permanent staff 9 months after that.

3. Which sport do you enjoy writing about?

Cricket obviously and I also love tennis, but cricket is first.

 

Naasira Mohammed
Naasira Mohammed

4. Who is your role model?

My grandmother is my role model. She raised my mom and aunt as a single parent after she became a widow. She supported them with only basic primary school education but she’s excellent with managing finances. My mama showed me how to be resilient, courageous, and to work hard for what I want, despite any distractions and detractors that may come my way. I am who I am and where I am because of my mama and my mom’s prayers for me.

5. In today’s modern world, how important is it for a journalist to have other ancillary skills like video editing, photography, etc?

It is extremely important for any journalist to have these ancillary skills because it helps them to better develop a story or angle. They are able to know exactly what type of shot is in need, what footage is accurate, and if they can edit, they will know how the flow of their story will be.

6. Prior to joining Cricket West Indies, you worked as a sports journalist for CNMG for over three and a half years. What were your key learnings from that stint?

How to plan a story, to look beyond the surface for information and different story angles. How to set targets and achieve them by the deadlines determined.

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7. You were also the only full-time woman journalist in Trinidad. How were you looked upon by society?

I was the only Woman Sports Journalist in Trinidad and moreover, the first Journalist to wear the hijab on tv. I was and still am looked upon as a role model for women that religion nor gender are barriers to achieving their goals.

 

Naasira Mohammed
Naasira Mohammed on Media Duties

 

8. Did you get enough support from your family?

They have supported me from day 1 and are still my main support system now.

9. How did you get the opportunity to work as a Media and Content officer for the West Indies women’s team?

I jokingly sent a tweet to the then president after the women won the ICC T20 World Cup in 2016, that I would love to be the media officer of the team if ever they were looking for one in the future.

10. Did you expect to get hired?

I did not expect to, because it was not until almost a one and a half years later then I got a response to a vacancy and I applied, interviewed, and got the job.

11. For the last three years you have been associated with Cricket West Indies as Media and Content officer for the women’s team? How has the experience been?

For me, it is a dream come true. I always tell people, after God and my family, it’s West Indies Cricket. There is no other team I have supported in cricket other than the West Indies. I get to be a part of West Indies cricket history and what makes it all worth it, is when my family and close friends tell me they are proud of my work. I have a very strong work ethic, so I always give 100%.

12. Your previous job was in Trinidad and Tobago and now you have shifted base to Antigua, how is cricket different on these two islands?

It’s vastly different because Antigua is smaller than Trinidad and cricket isn’t as widely played as in Trinidad. In Trinidad, there are dozens of cricket clubs and structured tournaments and seasons. In Antigua, the numbers are far less and there are fewer tournaments. I feel like in Trinidad, any area you go to you’ll see kids or even adults playing a short match, that isn’t seen as frequently in Antigua.

I remember growing up and even until now, we playing under my relative’s houses, and we breaking windows or lightbulbs when we hit the ball. I’ve lost a lot of skin on my legs and elbows diving for catches or climbing through a fence to retrieve a ball.

 

Naasira Mohammed
Naasira Mohammed

 

13. When you started for the first seven months of 2018, you held the same position on the West Indies Men’s Cricket Team. After a long history of 93 years, you became the first woman to hold that position. How did you feel?

It was actually May-December 2018, It was an honor and a privilege to have that chance in West Indies cricket history. And I’m most proud that my grandma is alive to see me live this dream because my love for West Indies cricket came from her first and then her younger sister who religiously attended cricket at the Queen’s Park Oval.

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14. Which is your favorite story that you have covered? Can you share one each from men’s and women’s cricket?

Men’s: My first home season with them, they drew the Test series against Sri Lanka and then won a Test Series against Bangladesh.

Women: Playing a T20I series against Pakistan Women in Pakistan and winning it.

15. The West Indies women’s team won the T20 World Cup in 2016. Do you think after that, more and more Caribbean girls are picking up cricket?

There has been more interest by younger girls in cricket after that title win in 2016. Girls’ school cricket has grown, especially in Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana, and smaller territories like St. Lucia.

 

Naasira  Mohammed
Naasira Mohammed

 

16. How do you think West Indies women’s cricket has transformed over the years?

We have grown into not only being considered power-hitters but we bring an all-round performance to the game. Our fielders are some of the quickest and most accurate.

17. As a part of your job, you travel with the team. Do you have any funny or memorable stories from your travel diaries?

Our team bonding activities are the most memorable, from karaoke sessions, to visiting the Lord of the Rings movie set in New Zealand.

18. In one of your interviews, you have mentioned that you love watching Bollywood movies and celebrating Indian festivals. Tell us about how you developed this love?

I am of East Indian descent, my ancestors came to the West Indies to work on British sugar cane plantations. They stayed and kept the culture with them. My relatives have been involved with promoting Bollywood music and movies back in Trinidad from the 1970s until today. My relatives have brought the likes of Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Mukesh, Mohammed Rafi, Arijit Singh to name a few.

So I grew up around it but what’s funny is that the older members in my family understand and speak Urdu and Hindi and while I understand some of it, I’m not fluent but I listen to Bollywood music frequently.

19. What are your future plans?

To help promote Women’s cricket not just in the West Indies but to any country that there is potential.

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