T20 League essential for Pak women cricketers: Javeria Khan

Lahore: In order to encourage more women to take up cricket in Pakistan, skipper Javeria Khan on Saturday said that a T20 league should be introduced on the same basis as Pakistan Super League (PSL).

To improve the quality of women’s cricket, the 30-year-old told Express Tribune, “We need a women’s league on the same basis as PSL. I raised this issue earlier as well because it helps women’s cricketers financially while also gaining exposure by playing with foreign cricketers. This will also encourage young women to take up cricket in Pakistan.”

Reflecting on her team’s defeat at the recent ICC T20 World Cup, Javeria said: “The reason behind our loss was the fact that we are developing youngsters which is why there is lack of consistency in our performances.”

The top-order batter also brushed aside the notion that only a few are considered when selecting the squad. “It is wrong to say that because cricketers who are selected are all performance based. But I will say that there is a relatively small pool of players from which selections are made.”

Talking about the need for more investment in women’s cricket, the skipper said: “In order to increase the number of women cricketers, the board has set up five academies to facilitate our cricket. But we also need people to invest in club and school cricket as it will improve our bench strength.”

When asked about the team’s performance as compared to other international sides, Javeria said: “It is unfair to match our standard with that of other top international sides because there is a massive difference between the structures. Topsides like Australia, England and South Africa have a very strong domestic, club and school cricket structure which aids their growth in international cricket.”

“Yes we lack in the batting department but we are gradually improving. This aspect of our game will improve as players gain more experience which is why it is important to give the batsmen more time to establish themselves,” she added.

The Pakistan skipper also revealed that cricketers from men’s team help them from time to time.

“Pakistan men cricketers also help us from time to time with their tips. Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez and Hasan Ali are few of the names that guide and support us, whether it’s through social media or when we meet up during training sessions,” she said.

Javeria, who has featured in 91 ODIs and 85 T20Is, believes that it is important that international cricket returns to Pakistan as it is beneficial for the side. “We would love to see international cricket return to Pakistan. It gives us great pride to play on our home soil and in front of our families. Bearing in mind the fact that we grew up playing cricket in Pakistan, it is easier to adjust to conditions as compared to a neutral or away venue,” she concluded.