The situation of women’s cricket was very dismal in Multan for past few years especially since a very talented female cricketer committed suicide, and allegations of rampant sexual harassment came up. The cases were not properly investigated, and the matter was hushed by cricket authorities. It had a huge negative impact on the female players, and many decided to leave the game. There was no question of new comers joining in.
IN such a situation, Bedari decided to revive women’s cricket in the district, which had produced some really wonderful players in the recent past. There were no functional cricket clubs, and some academic institutes (some colleges, and universities) had their female cricket teams, but they were hesitant to send their teams for a women cricket tournament.
Bedari team in Multan held many meetings, and gave assurances on its own, and got recommendations/endorsements from some senior government officials, media persons, and women rights activists. Bedari’s reputation as a women rights focused organization, and previous work with youth in different universities and colleges also helped a lot in convincing the players, and team managers to join the tournament. Finally, some institutions agreed to send their teams for a small scale women cricket tournament.
Slowly the hesitation gave way to some understanding. The female players came out to play. Bedari made fool-proof arrangements for their security and protection from sexual harassment. It would be pertinent to mention here the Bedari was in the forefront in the campaign for anti-sexual harassment laws that was started in 2001, and culminated in the enactment of relevant laws in 2010.
Bedari efforts bore fruit, and 6 institutions agreed to participate in the tournament. The matches were played in Emerson College Ground, Muslim Public School Ground, and final match was played at Districts Sports Ground.
It helped break the cycle of fear, and raise the confidence of the managers, players, and their families especially their parents. The event received very good coverage in the local media.
The final match was played between Sunshine Club of Women University Multan, and Jahanian Tigers Cricket Club; it was won by Sunshine Club.
Women of the tournament was Gul Afroze from Sunshine Club (She scored 53 runs in the final match without losing her wicket, and overall she had scored 107 runs). She was also the best batswoman of the tournament with 107 runs to her credit. The best bowler of the tournament was Nazia Irshad from Sunshine Club. She got 12 wickets. The best fielder of the tournament was Shaista from Jahanian Tigers. Sundas Fatima from Sunshine club was the best wicket keeper with 7 catches, and 40 runs.
The female players were really happy that the women cricket was revived. The girls from Muslim Public School and College shared their joy and requested that Bedari should arrange training sessions for them as they had not performed well in the tournament. Many parents came to see the matches, and were satisfied with the arrangements for the safety and security of the girls.