From 2009, the Pakistani soil has had only dreams of international cricket. Mixed with inconsistent team performance throughout the recent years and reluctance of international players and boards to play in Pakistan, the Pakistani fans and cricket lovers are on their toes to see any inspirational tale arise out of 22 yards.
The tale is ready. This time as women in the protagonist seats. For a society that finds itself struggling with orthodoxy and modernization, a journey to the pitch for a woman is not straight and convenient like her male counterparts. Kainat Imtiaz is one such inspiration.
She represents her nation as an all-rounder. She is currently playing the ongoing triangular national t20 tournament at Karachi. She has, however, this time made way into the news not with performance but because she might be the first girl from Pakistan, and from the whole globe, to play a match with her mother umpiring. The pair of mom and daughter is unique not only to women’s cricket but also to the whole cricketing fraternity.
The world had heard stories of Hussey and Pathan brothers. Then came the Starc couple. Nevertheless, the new mom-daughter duo from Pakistan is unseen and unheard of. Kainat Imtiaz wears the jersey for Dynamites in the tournament while her mother Saleema is carrying the duties of a match official. Saleema says that she had always been passionate about the game and enjoyed her bit in the streets or mohallas as she calls it.
She, however, wasn’t fortunate to wear green for her national side. Nonetheless, the love and passion for the game were not easy to fade away. In 2006, as a result, she joined umpiring. To see her daughter in the national team makes her happy and comments that her daughter is living her dream. Kainat too, on the other hand, believes that her mother has been a source of inspiration for her. She made her debut in 2010 and draws the will and strength from Saleema. Kainat realizes that it was the passion and the promise that her mom had for the game that made her stay on the pitch in a manner that no commoner would have thought of.
Interestingly, both Saleema and her husband have been sports instructors. Further, they trained children and their own daughter in the same school. Kainat is quick to highlight the sporting culture that had been in her house. She states that the passion for cricket was shared by all her family members. It must be noted that the pair have not stepped out together in any of the matches due to PCB regulations.
However, Saleema has umpired, with Kainat playing, in local matches. More to the surprise of fans and spectators, Saleema is in no mood to satisfy herself. She believes that one day she will make it to the ICC board of umpires. She and her daughter have dedicated themselves to the country and fans and lovers of the game look forward to such heroes to break stereotypes and become inspirations.
A student who enjoys studying cricket more than anything else, keen to learn the insights of the women’s game.