Cricketer credits consistency, hard work for success

In Sports
March 29, 2024


For Kainat Fatima, the odds were always stacked against her. Growing up in Karachi, she had more opportunities than her counterparts in smaller cities and towns. However, for a girl to be out and about in the playground and pursue a sport considered a preserve for men in conservative Pakistan was never easy.

“But everything is possible with consistency and hard work,” Kainat told host Sidra Iqbal as a guest on a podcast by The Express Tribune. The podcast, titled “No Damage Beyond Repair,” is supported by Dove and features stories of inspirational women and the challenges they faced in their careers.

Kainat rose through the grades, first earning her colours in the under-17 and then the under-19 categories before graduating to the national team and making her debut in 2011. A medium pacer who is handy with the bat, Kainat said she was always athletic.

“I was working as a ball picker during the 2005 Asia Cup in Karachi. Witnessing the tall women cricketers on the field, I felt inspired,” she told Iqbal. “I thought I can choose this [game] as an option.”

She had the inspiration and the support system, and her biggest champion, her mother Saleema Imtiaz. She started officiating in domestic matches in 2006 and last year made her debut as an international umpire.

The young cricketer points out that both her parents supported her sporting pursuits and international aspirations. “They instilled in me the love for sports from a very early age.”

But it is much harder for girls compared to boys, acknowledges Kainat. This included pressure from her extended family who did not like the idea of a girl pursuing a lifestyle deemed unconventional.

“Despite their discouragement, my parents shielded me from negative messages. Today, those same relatives take pride in my achievement,” says Kainat.

She has since represented Pakistan 40 times against seven different oppositions across five continents.

Reflecting on challenges she has come across professionally, Kainat said that teamwork and camaraderie helped them through some tough times. “We were in the dressing room after a poor performance, and the mood was very low.

But one teammate rallied and urged them to focus on the next match. ‘In the next game, we came back even stronger. This actually happens and helps a lot,’ she said.

Kainat said that it was essential to focus on the sport while ensuring a healthy work-life balance. “I believe in giving 100 per cent at home and on the field,” she said while adding that perfection is unattainable. “You cannot please everybody, and not everyone will be happy with you. You have to look at yourself too,” she concluded.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2023.

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