They got he hastag #girlsatdhabas trend on the social media in order to encourage women to reclaim public spaces © Getty Images
They got he hastag #girlsatdhabas trend on the social media in order to encourage women to reclaim public spaces © Getty Images

In a country as conservative as Pakistan, where girls are preferred to stay indoors now has a group of young girls who actively play street cricket. Thanks to the initiative taken by Sadia Khatri, a cricket enthusiast who was never allowed to play with the boys. “No, beti, girls don’t play cricket in streets,” it was explained to me. “What will people say?” was a regular statement she heard whenever she went to watch a friendly cricket match that would be going on a street; she was desperate to join, but couldn’t. READ: Sarah Taylor becomes first women cricketer to be inducted into Legends Lane at Hove

According to a report from Dawn.com, Sadia revealed that on insisting her father many a times, he finally bought her a kit but she was restricted to play without the walls of her house with her brother. While, her big brother was least interested in the game and mostly spent time with comic books, she hardly found company to play at home. “But cricket on our lawns, spacious though they were, was no match for the fun the boys on the street were having in their congested surroundings. I could only watch from the sidelines,” said the tomboy girl.

If her brother was not a cricket person, her sister Iman was just like her—a cricket freak! Unfortunately, when she went to a street hoping the guys would let her join their game, the rude boys bluntly refused and asked her to “go away.” And then, Sadia was determined to ignore what the other people said or thought, all that was in her mind was to make her own team in street cricket—break the pointless restrictions made for women and begin the street cricket for them. READ– Aamir Sohail: Tall claims by people who run PCB, but no series with India

To begin with, Sadia got the hastag #girlsatdhabas trend on the social media in order to encourage other young women to reclaim public spaces. Later, another hashtag, #reclaimingpublicspace, was born and now we have a very active #girlsplayingstreetcricket for Pakistan women.
Meanwhile, her close friend Natasha Ansari, outside whose home the young women had gathered for two innings of street cricket on a Defence Phase-V road on a cloudy Sunday afternoon, also has similar childhood memories of when she and her sister would watch boys playing cricket just across their house. “When the two of us came out to join them, they wouldn’t let us play with them. Even the notion of us wanting to play outside and with them was a funny thing for them. They couldn’t imagine it.”

We are Mount Holyoke alumnae. Returning home after completing our studies there in the US, we felt stuck. We had to do something about it, so here we are,” she added.

With Sadia and Natasha are Iman Malik, Najia Sabahat Khan and Sara Nisar who also serve as moderators of their Facebook pages. The character that separated the girls from the boys is that they had no issues with the young men joining them for a match and eventually a couple of them actually did. The group of girls that played street cricket included the ones who knew nothing about the game: one confused wicket-keeping with goalkeeping and another decided to bowl underarm. READ: BCCI suggests selling CSK and RR for 2 years to Lodha Committee

The main agenda behind this initiative was to give out a statement that girls are not bound to be within the four walls of their house, they have the right to break boundaries and come out to be themselves.