Bismah Maroof: Parents told me to choose cricket

Pakistan batsman Bismah Maroof has admitted she wanted to be a doctor, but was encouraged to take up cricket as a profession by her 'cricket crazy' parents.

Bisma Maroof, at 24 a veteran of 77 ODIs and 62 T20Is for Pakistan, is keen on emulating Virat Kohli in taking batting responsibility for her side.   -  S. Dipak Ragav

For someone who was not interested in cricket, Bismah Maroof has come a long way since her debut ten years back to become the leading run-getter in the shorter formats of the game for Pakistan.

Like it often happens with the men’s team in Pakistan, Maroof was blooded into the international side when she was 15, handpicked by former Pakistani player Imtiaz Ahmed, who was the selector of the women’s team then.

Coming from a cricket crazy family it was on her parent’s insistence she took to the sport. “I did not want to be a cricketer. My parents and family are very crazy about cricket and so put me into cricket. I actually wanted to be a doctor and was in eighth grade when I got selected. So I asked my parents, ‘what is my future?’ and they told me to focus on cricket and that should be first priority.”

The left-handed batsman, who has not played first-class cricket at all, is also a handy bowler with her leg breaks and is the only Pakistani batsman in the top 10 in the ICC rankings for T20s.

Looking back at her international career, Maroof says, “In my debut match, I scored 43 against India. I didn’t know what I was doing that time. But now I realise how important it is to make your debut count. I am bit more mature and taking responsibility.”

Responsibility

Maroof has often spoken about her admiration for Virat Kohli. “I actually like Virat for the way he takes the responsibility of the team and how he builds his innings at number three. So, I just want to take that responsibility too. My main focus is to emulate that.”

The 24-year old has also been outspoken about the need for academies for girls back home, saying the talent pool is available, but needs nurturing and support. “The grassroots level in Pakistan is not very good. We want [Pakistan Cricket Board] to take some decisions to promote women’s cricket. We want a separate women’s cricket academy so that girls can come and train there as we don’t have a lot of grounds.”