Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board
It was her undying spirit, commitment and readiness to tackle new challenges that saw Nahida Khan break the glass ceiling around 14 years ago and became the only woman cricketer from Balochistan to represent Pakistan.
The right-handed batter transformed herself into a permanent opener in the national side and struck eight half-centuries – all in One-Day Internationals. She went on to make 2,014 runs in 120 matches. Her last international outing was in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
Now, 36, Nahida is gearing to take another challenge as she takes up the coaching responsibilities in the upcoming Pakistan Cup Women’s Cricket Tournament. Nahida will be the assistant coach of Blasters, which are captained by Muneeba Ali.
“I have always been willing to take up new challenges since my childhood and that helped me grow,” Nahida told PCB Digital on the sidelines of a practice session on Thursday. “I have had a passion for coaching and as a player I was always curious about this art.”
It has not taken her long to mould herself into the new role. She spoke to all-rounder Kainat Imtiaz about her bowling plans at length and shared knowledge about the art of batting with up and coming cricketers at the State Bank Ground.
Though Nahida is widely known as an opener, she also holds the record for most catches in an innings in ODIs. She grabbed four catches in the second match against Sri Lanka in Dambulla in 2018 as Pakistan defeated the hosts by a staggering 94 runs on their way to first-ever series clean sweep in the island.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to guide and mentor the next generation of players. This is certainly the right time to do so as we have some very exciting talent coming through. It is incredibly fulfilling to coach those with whom I have shared the field as teammates.”
With her in-depth understanding of the game and years of experience, Nahida’s decision to become a coach was met with widespread support and excitement as she received certifications from the PCB and ACC. She deputised Taufeeq Umar, the head coach of Amazons, in the Women’s League exhibition matches earlier in the year. Amazons won that three-match series – part of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s efforts to pave way for the launch of women’s T20 league.
Reflecting on her stint during the Women’s League exhibition matches, she said: “Coaching the Amazons team in the Women’s League exhibition matches was a fantastic experience. It was a privilege to work with talented players from different countries, exchanging ideas and strategies to enhance the game.”
She wants to be an inspiration for the millions of girls who want to take up cricket as a profession. “I want these girls to see me as their examples. If they cannot become cricketers, they can take up other roles in the sport.”
Nahida is optimistic about Blasters winning the Pakistan Cup Women’s Cricket Tournament, which begins in Karachi tomorrow. “I believe the Blasters team has immense potential,” she said. “We have strong combinations and there are expectations from this bunch. Muneeba Ali is leading the team and I am excited to see how she performs as a captain. I am excited to contribute to their growth and see the team achieve great success.”
Nahida has won many domestic tournaments over her career. Now adding titles as a coach will be an icing on the cake.