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Lack of training facilities, cultural barriers hampering growth of women cricketers in Pakistan: Nida Dar

Lack of training facilities, cultural barriers hampering growth of women cricketers in Pakistan: Nida Dar

KARACHI: Pakistan women’s cricket team all-rounder Nida Dar has suggested the lack of training facilities and cultural barriers in the country are hampering their progress in the international arena.

The national side failed to register a single series win in 2021 before managing only one victory in seven matches at the World Cup staged in New Zealand earlier this year.

The criticism Pakistan’s dismal show drew included questions on the players’ fitness, especially that of the senior members of the team including Nida.

While speaking to reporters on the sidelines of Pakistan’s preparatory camp for their upcoming white-ball series against Sri Lanka here at the National Stadium on Thursday, the 35-year-old said the side might be struggling due to deep lying domestic issues.

“We do our best to maintain our fitness, although, the difference between us and other teams can be that of facilities and the environment,” said Nida, a veteran of 91 One-day Internationals and 108 T20Is.

Pakistan women’s team set-up has been professionalised to a certain extent in the last few years and the side now regularly features in bilateral series and international tournaments. However, Nida revealed even the top players in the country were struggling to get some basic professional needs fulfilled.

“We cannot go and train at any place at anytime,” said the right-handed batter. “In the big cities you get time and space to train but this can’t be done in all cities.

“Being professional cricketers, we’ve to travel to other cities. I am from Gujranwala and I’ve to go to Lahore for my training.”

In contrast to players in Pakistan, Nida believed, their counterparts abroad were given space and time to train whenever and wherever they want right from their childhood. She rued cultural norms in Pakistan were hampering women players’ growth.

“Our environment is also such that you have to be answerable to everyone, including your own family members,” said Nida, the first Pakistani player to bag 100 T20 International wickets.

“The questions that need to be asked should be about how many facilities the girls are getting to train. Boys can go anywhere to work on themselves but it becomes a bit difficult for girls.”

Pakistan are set to host Sri Lanka for three ODIs and as many T20 games from next week at the Southend Club here. It will be Pakistan’s first assignment since their disastrous outing at this year’s World Cup.

It was worse for the Sri Lanka, who couldn’t even make it to the showpiece.

“It’s great that Sri Lanka are coming here to play, they haven’t played a lot for the last few months,” noted Nida.

“So it’s a start for them and us as well and it will be a good series.”

The Sri Lanka series will be followed by Pakistan’s tour to Ireland for a tri-nation T20 series involving the hosts and world champions Australia before they travel to Birmingham, England for the Commonwealth Games.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2022

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