Star India opening batter Smriti Mandhana has hailed “inspirational” Pakan captain Bismah Maroof for setting an example for sportswomen across the world returning to play six months after giving birth to a child.
After they beat arch-rivals Pakan 107 runs in the Women’s World Cup on Sunday, some Indian players were seen having a good time with Maroof’s daughter Fatima with pictures and videos of them playing with the six-month-old girl going viral.
Vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Renuka Singh Thakur, Meghna Singh and Richa Ghosh were seen making playful gestures at the toddler cradled in Maroof’s arm.
This video ..
🇮🇳🙌🏻🇵🇰#INDvPAK #INDvSL #PAKvIND #PAKvAUS#CWC22 #Peshawarblast pic.twitter.com/VuoCOGyzKW
— DhrubaJyot Nath 🇮🇳 (@Dhrubayogi) March 6, 2022
“Coming back post pregnancy in 6 months and playing international cricket is so inspiring. @bismahmaroof setting an example for sportswomen across the globe,” Mandhana wrote in an Instagram post.
Smriti Mandhana’s Instagram story (Instagram)
“Lots of love to ba Fatima from India and I hope she picks the bat just like you bcoz lefties are special.”
After the match, the ICC tweeted along with a photo: “Little Fatima’s first lesson in the spirit of cricket from India and Pakan.”
Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar was quick to chip in with his admiring comment.
“What a lovely moment! Cricket has boundaries on the field, but it breaks them all off the field. Sport unites!” he wrote in a tweet.
What a lovely moment! Cricket has boundaries on the field, but it breaks them all off the field.
Sport unites!#CWC22 pic.twitter.com/isgALYeZe1
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) March 6, 2022
Even before the game, photographs of Maroof entering the stadium in Mount Maunganui with her daughter — born in August last year — cradled in her arms had become an instant hit on social media.
That 30-year-old Maroof was able to travel to New Zealand with her daughter — as well as her mother, Fatima’s carer — as Pakan Cricket Board’s maternity rule allows the mother “to travel with a support person of her choice to ass in caring for her infant child”, with travel and accommodation costs shared equally between the board and the player.