Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) Chief Executive Wasim Khan has vowed to improve women's cricket pay deals and escalate wages further in the next three years.
Wasim, an accomplished cricket administrator who has worked for nine years with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and a few county sides, has ensured business class travel for the Pakistan women's national cricket team and promised other fringe benefits.
Cricket is entrenched in Pakistani society and it would be a pity to turn a blind eye to the innate advantage of an unebbing passion for the game and so not harnessing women's passion for cricket at the international level will hold PCB back from winning laurels.
Wasim's initiative is a step in the right direction which will not only encourage women to take on cricket as a career but will also help in uncapping the latent potential.
“We’ve done a huge amount of work with our women’s side. Culturally, it’s not been the done thing but I’ve been in the post 10 months now and it’s important that our [women’s players] are valued in terms of their contribution and what they’re bringing to the fabric of cricket in Pakistan,” Wasim told The Sydney Morning Herald.
The domestic cricket has been given a boost after the promulgation of the new domestic structure which has also been a good omen for women's cricket as their remuneration has been increased by 20 per cent - but it is still not on par with the men's team.
“We fly them business class now for any flights over five hours. We’ve improved the value of their central contracts and the girls who take part in domestic cricket now get paid to play. They are all things that were never there before. There is still a huge amount of work we need to do around that but we’re moving in the right direction to develop and invest more into our women’s game," Wasim added.
There has been a lack of funding and focus on women's cricket over the years but it looks like the new administration of the PCB is emphasizing on the undeniable importance of women's cricket in the country. It will help them build on women's cricket team's success and allow them to make a strong impact at the international level.
The team has shown good progress in the recent past and we have seen stars such as Nida Dar making a mark in the ongoing Women's Big Bash League (WBBL). The stawlart Sana Mir, who made her debut in 2005, has been the top ranked all-rounder and bowler for many years. She has won many accolades for the country and is the most inspiring and towering figure for women who want to take up cricket as a profession.
“We’ve got 10 on central contracts, they’re fully professional in terms of that. It’s a lot better than what they were getting before. But what I want to do is try to close the gap as much as we can over the next three years, making sure they are getting paid properly.
Women cricketers are no longer afraid to improvise; they play those sweep shots, scoops and are quickly catching up with the modern-day demands that require power hitting. Needless to say, improving skills further will need better facilities and the focus of decision-makers.
There is a need to increase the player base so there is no vacuum left when the veterans sing their swansong and therefore a long-term plan for injecting money in the development of women's cricket is imperative.
Apart from incentivizing players, it is also important to break the societal hurdles and negative stereotypes in a bid to encourage women to pursue cricket as a career. In this realm, the entire cricket fraternity could chime in and talent hunt programmes could be accelerated with the support of media.
"They’re performing, they’re working hard, they’re very skilled and we want to bring more girls to the game and believe there is a future in the game because the salaries are good. They’re more likely to take up the game then so it’s important for us on a number of levels that we keep improving the pay scales and all other benefits that we’re currently providing," Wasim explained.
Wasim wants to follow Cricket Australia women's cricket model which he termed as “a model we can all strive towards”.