Pakistan’s Sana Mir might have charted the peaks of success in women’s cricket, but she doesn’t forget the difficult early days, when she was surrounded by obstacles and faced doubters.
Mir is set to receive the Asia Game Changer Award for her contribution to the sport and serving as an inspiration for women in Pakistan. Ahead of the occasion, she recalled the challenges she faced during her formative years, with sceptics questioning her decision to take up the game.
"When I started in 2005, people would ask me why I’m doing this, [and tell me] it's not a women's game," Mir was quoted as saying by Asia Society.
Alhamdolillah !— Sana Mir ثناء میر (@mir_sana05) September 11, 2019
Truly humbled and honoured to be receiving this award alongside amazing world leaders. Super proud to represent my country 🇵🇰 and the sport of cricket🏏 at @AsiaSociety. https://t.co/w8RckaMSQj
Having started off by playing street cricket at the age of five, Mir, like so many other budding female cricketers in the country, was faced with the lack of proper exposure. Undeterred, she started playing in the boys teams, and slowly moved up the ranks. She joined the women's national team in late 2005, and by 2009, graduated to captaincy. The very next year, she led Pakistan to gold in the Asian Games.
Along with the team's success came Mir's personal success as an off-spin bowler; in October 2018, she became the first woman from her country to claim the No.1 ranking in ODIs, and in May this year, became the most successful spinner in women's one-dayers. She was recently inducted into the ICC Women's Committee as well.
The accomplishments have captured the attention of the public, which, Mir believes, has started to change the perception of women's cricket in the country.
“Now when I talk to people, they say, 'We are so proud of the team. We want our daughters to be a part of this team.' They ask how can they become a part of this team. The mentality and perception has changed."
Mir has been inspirational off the field too, and is vocal on social media, often raising her voice to speak up on social topics. She believes that obstacles can't stop the hard work of inspired women to enter the sport and make a name for themselves.
"Any girl in Pakistan who puts in hard work and is true to the game can do that in any sport."