In Guangzhou with Asmavia Iqbal
(Picture by Andy Townsend)

Nain: We have improved a lot and become quite professional – the girls are showing individual performances. A fast-bowler took a hat-trick in a T20 this year and I am the first one to score a century in ODIs.
The PCB are helping us, we are improving every day. They look after us, so we want to perform for them.

(Picture by Andy Townsend)

Ishitaa: How does a country like Hong Kong get better?
Nain: They would be as good as us if they played. It’s not about going out there and hitting the ball, it’s about mindset. Confidence. Teams should play better ones than themselves to learn and make rapid improvement. Look at Bangladesh and Ireland. They play against us and see how things are done better, that is why they are improving day by day.

(Picture by Andy Townsend)

Play good teams, play 24 hours, play around the world, reach your potential, (with the bat no one made runs but) Hong Kong’s fielding was outstanding today, everybody impressed with their fielding and bowling – if you go for tours and play better teams they will definitely improve. There has to be a point for playing. When the people all around you understand this then it becomes easier but it can still be done even if they don’t.

I was a child with four brothers and played with them every day, and would break lights and plants, My Dad scolded me a lot, we used to play in the streets, when I was older he didn’t like that. My Mum said you have gold medals, lots of certificates for different sports, so you better go out and use your talent. I was 11 or 12 and my grandfather used to bowl to me.

I am from a Syed Ulama family, and it is difficult for a girl from that background to have them decide to send their daughters for studies and whatever they want to do. Even my relatives were against me playing cricket – ‘not your game’ they said – ‘use my talent’ they said – but my mother/brother supported me. I wrote a letter to an organisation and they asked me for a trial. My brother and mother would take me and drop me at practises in Karachi and people told them they were wasting their time and money…now everyone is recognising us. I now sit with those who were criticising us and they support all that we do. We are not just playing cricket in Pakistan we are changing hearts and minds. Every women’s sport, people are supporting because of cricket.

Ishitaa: What are your plans after you retire?
Nain: I have done a Level I course and then hope to do a Level II and Level III. I hope to take up cricket after retirement for the benefit of women, maybe as a coach or sports psychologist. Right now, I am focussing on playing.

Filed January 21st, 2013