There was no formal women’s cricket in Pakistan until the 1990s, when it began with the most tentative of footholds at the initiative of sisters Shaiza and Sharmeen Khan.
As late as 1997 the Pakistan women’s team was denied permission to play on religious grounds.
But he Pakistan Cricket Board established a so-called Women’s Wing in 2005 and the women’s national team has since participated in four World Cups. With limited resources it had won only two World Cup matches before the current tournament. Most of the current Pakistan team are at least semi professional and the team’s coaches and support staff are full-time.
But the greatest measure of the progress women’s cricket has made on this IWD is that 29-year-old Mahroof played the innings while her daughter Fatimah, born in August, was in the pavilion. Maroof returned to international cricket six months after her daughter’s birth.
The Pakistan Cricket Board is sharing costs to allow Maroof “to travel with a support person of her choice to assist in caring for her infant child.”
Maroof’s mother cared for Fatimah while her mother was at the crease and in the field.
“Of course in this comeback it was very important for me to perform and it’s very special as my mother and daughter are here so I wanted to make it count,” Maroof said.
Pakistan played India in its opening match on the weekend and India’s star batter Smriti Mandhana described Maroof’s return to international cricket “inspiring.”
“Coming back post pregnancy in six months and playing international cricket is so inspiring,” Mandhana said on Instagram. “Mahroof is setting an example for sportswomen across the globe.”