Passion for Cricket Drives Pakistan’s Women towards Umpiring
With the rise of women’s cricket in Pakistan, more and more women attracted to the game every day, which is also sparking their interest and passion in taking the field of Umpiring.
According to a press release, there are currently nine women umpire or referees in the country’s rural and urban centres on the panels of arbitrators of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). They are at the leading of the campaign to ensure that female representation on the cricket ground continues to increase with women taking on the role of referees.
Five of them, Afia Amin, Humaira Farah, Nazia Nazir, Sabahat Rasheed and Shakila Rafiq, were in the audience during a workshop in Lahore, which concluded on Tuesday.
The four remaining referees, namely Nuzhat Sultana, Riffat Mustafa, Samera Aftab and Saleema Imtiaz, will attend workshops in Karachi and Rawalpindi from 29 to 31 August and from 3 to 5 September, respectively, during the Annual Workshop of Pcb Panel Arbitrators and Match referees.
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The purpose of these umpiring workshops is to update match officials across the country with the latest game laws, national PCB playing conditions, code of conduct and dress equipment regulations before the 2019-20 domestic season.
In Lahore’s workshop, the referees were taught by high-level referees, including Aleem Dar of the ICC Umpires Elite Panel, and Ahsan Raza and Asif Yaqoob, both members of the ICC Umpires International Panel, leading the workshop.
The rabid women welcomed the decision to hold the workshop and shared glimpses on their respective journeys.
Afia Amin, a master’s degree holder, said that
I come from a conservative family, but my husband gave me all the support I needed. My interest in arbitration developed after I saw him officiate women’s parties.
Humaira Farah, who is the director of sports at Lahore Garrison University and is pursuing a PhD, said that
Women are an integral part of any society and the PCB’s move to coach referees before the season is commendable. My goal is to make the most of this workshop so that I can have the honour of refereeing in an international women’s game.
Nazia Nazir, who teaches physical education at Government Township College in Lahore, said that
I couldn’t pursue my dream of becoming a cricketer due to family restrictions. Being a referee gave me the opportunity to return to the cricket ground, which I grabbed with both hands. I want to become a regular referee in ICC matches.
Sabahat Rasheed, a former international player from Pakistan, said that
Arbitration is a totally different profession and requires a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of the laws of the game.
Shakila Rafiq, the holder of a master’s degree, said that
I idolatrous Aleem Dar as he has officiated countless matches and I hope to make the most of his extensive experience in international cricket arbitration at the very best.
Impressed with the participation of women referees in the workshop, Aleem Dar said that
Women referees are a great asset to Pakistani cricket. They have been working hard to make a mark, and their passion and love for the profession is really commendable. Women in Pakistan have been playing an integral role in the development of society, and it is high time we recognized the efforts these women have been making.
-Dar on Pakistan Women Umpiring Passion-
Women’s arbitration rules over the years have improved significantly. The more matches they officiate, the better they will be. It is imperative that arbitrators like me, who have international exposure, convey the knowledge we have acquired over the years to these dedicated women.
-Aleem Dar Hopes for Good-
These women are an inspiration to thousands of people, and it was encouraging for me to be able to share my experience and knowledge with them during this workshop. I hope these women will attract more women to the arbitration profession and soon Pakistan will have representation on the ICC Development Arbitrators Panel, Dar concluded.