Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board
At just 17 years old, Laiba Nasir has already left an indelible mark on Pakistan’s cricketing landscape. Her stellar performances on the international stage, representing Pakistan in the ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 in South Africa, have caught the attention of cricket enthusiasts and pundits alike. Currently featuring for the Dynamites in the Pakistan Cup Women’s Cricket Tournament in Karachi, Laiba is rapidly emerging as a promising talent, showcasing immense potential and determination to succeed.
Laiba’s journey to becoming a professional cricketer is an inspiring one. Born and raised in a cricket-loving family in Lahore, her passion for the sport was kindled from a young age. Gifted with natural talent, she honed her skills under the guidance of dedicated coaches and mentors.
Narrating her journey while talking to PCB Digital on the sidelines of the Pakistan Cup Women’s Cricket Tournament in Karachi, Laiba said, “I was 12 years old when I started playing cricket on the street next to my home with boys. The neighbours used to question my family about why I am playing on the street, expressing concern that it could lead to road blockages. On one occasion, they even visited my home to persuade my family to prevent me from playing this game. At that time, my father told me that if I want to pursue this game professionally, then I should go to the ground and then he accompanied me there.”
Mentioning the positive impact her father had on her early playing days, Laiba said, “My father used to take me to ground early in the morning and helped me in my practice, but then my father, who worked at an old clothes shop, got me admitted in a club.”
Laiba has four siblings and three of them play sports like football and athletics. During her younger years, Laiba faced suggestions from others to consider athletics due to her short height and not being of the ideal fitness. Nevertheless, she remained convinced regarding her passion for cricket.
Talking about her idol, right-handed Laiba added, “When I started playing cricket, people used to tell me that be like Sana Mir, then I started following her. Later, I tried copying Nida Dar’s bowling action, which I am yet to fully replicate.”
Opening up about her challenging commute to National Cricket Academy, Laiba stated it used to take her two hours to reach the academy, requiring her to switch between two local auto-rickshaws. Furthermore, she would carry her kit bag on her shoulder for a 30-minute walk from canal road to the academy.
Recalling the moment when her name was announced for the first time in Women’s U19 T20 Tournament that was played at the Lahore Country Club in Muridke from 13 to 22 August 2022, Laiba said, “I still remember people would question my decision to play this game, advising me against it. Once my name was announced, those very individuals reached out to congratulate me.”
Laiba reminisced the joy that she brought to her family when she was selected in the ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup squad. Narrating that moment, Laiba claimed, “I was batting in the nets when the head coach congratulated me that you have been inducted into the squad. When I got free from practice, I called my family members and sister, they were very happy. After returning home that day, my father took me to the market where our shop is located and proudly shared the news with everyone that his daughter had been chosen for the Pakistan squad in the World Cup.
Laiba went on to represent Pakistan in five matches in the ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup.
Reflecting on her experiences and her journey to representing Pakistan in a major event, Laiba has advocated for young girls pursuing a career in this sport. “It is incredibly motivating that with hard work and the support of parents, one can achieve their dreams.”