20 years later…women’s cricket gets sponsored

This piece was originally written for The Edition

Cricket is passion in Pakistan. Someone rightly said that cricket is like Urdu as it connects all of across the country. Our passion, comes with an exception when it comes to women’s cricket.

The Pakistan women’s cricket team has been playing for the last two decades but until recently the team was never taken seriously. It started with humble beginnings in 1997 when our women’s cricket team took on New Zealand in the maiden ODI of the team, the first ever test match came along a year after against Sri Lanka.

Like most other underdogs, the team went unnoticed.

It was not until 2005, that the Pakistan Cricket Board established the women wing and this led to the official beginning of Pakistani women’s cricket team under an established body and a full member of the ICC. This was a new beginning. But struggle for support from our countrymen continued – despite standing third on the podium of Asia Cup 2005.

This all started to shift in 2009, when the girls in green went to the ICC Women Cricket World Cup, and brought back back the gold at the Asian Games the next year.  Back to back victories sparked a sense of realization in Pakistanis that not only does the women’s cricket team of Pakistan exist and compete at international level it has talented cricketers such as Sana Mir, Bismah Maroof, and Nain Abidi whom younger girls started to emulate.

 

In 2014, girls in green again clinched the Asian Games gold. There is an iconic picture from the winning moments where Captain Sana Mir can be seen in official kit jersey that has a tape on it, that is because women team did not have a sponsor to fill that part.

The quest to being recognized enough to have an official sponsored, however, ended this past week when Pakistan Cricket Board and Bonanza Garments Pakistan entered into a three year contract. As per the contract Pakistan Women Cricket team now has official kit sponsor and that is Bonanza Satangi.

“There are many parents now who encourage their daughters to play cricket. This is an achievement,”                               Bismah  Maroof  T20 Captain

TWENTY YEARS TO SPONSORSHIP

This past Wednesday, Pakistan Women’s Team Sponsorship and ICC World Cup 2017 Kit unveiling with Bonanza Garments Pakistan took place at the National Cricket Academy, Lahore.

Captain of Pakistan Women ODI Team Sana Mir who is almost a legendary figure for the women cricket in Pakistan was also part of the kit unveiling ceremony was quite excited, she said, “finally getting an official kit sponsor for women cricket team is an indication that the hard work this team has put in since 2005 has finally started to bear fruit.”

“There was a time when nobody knew that women cricket team exists in Pakistan and now people have started to take us seriously.”

Speaking at the occasion Mr. Hanif Bilwani, Chairman Bonanza said, “It’s an honor for Bonanza Satrangi to be associated with Pakistan cricket as an official team sponsor for women’s cricket team. We believe that sport is particularly powerful in reaching out to the young, who represent the future of our country.”

Captain of the T20 Pakistan women cricket team Bismah Maroof said, “Getting a sponsor for the official kit of Pakistan women cricket team is a sign that we have done something worthwhile and now cricket fans in Pakistan recognize and brands like to associate with Pakistan cricket team.”

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