20-year-old Diana Baig comes from the province of Gilgit-Baltistan situated in north Pakistan. What makes her a phenomenal woman is the fact that she has played for the national women’s football team and has been the part of the country’s women’s cricket team which played in ICC World Cup 2015. She was also selected to be a part of the team that played for the ICC WomenT20 World Cup 2016, where she had to sit sidelines.
During an interview with Cricket Country, Diana recounted how she grew up playing cricket and football on the streets in her home in Hunza Valley, situated between tall mountains. In these conservative pockets of the Pakistani society, women playing sports is not a common sight. Diana’s family, however, embedded moderate values and encouraged her to play sports, alongside the boys, reported The Huffington Post.
Though Diana’s favourite sport is cricket, she bagged a place in the national women’s football team as well. Diana has had her share of struggles with cricket, but was persistent in the pursuit of the sport. From playing on the streets she progressed to playing for events in the neighbourhood and then for local teams. In 2010, she got the opportunity to lead a newly-minted Gilgit-Baltistan women’s cricket team. Two years later, she was selected for Pakistan’s A side, and then as a reserve player for the 2013 World Cup. In 2015 she finally won her first international cap, playing for Pakistan against Bangladesh.
So, while Diana is set on making it big in cricket, she is not ready to give up on football yet. She told AFP, “I try to start from football… I play football in the morning, then our cricket training starts around 11 or 12 noon and continues until 3:00 pm or 4:00 pm.” She also manages to squeeze in some time for her studies.