x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Kenyan woman a trailblazer in the cricket world

The recent appointment of Jackie Janmohammed as the chairwoman of Cricket Kenya will probably open the doors for other women to follow suit.

Women's cricket is still not considered as popular the men's game. Philip Brown / Reuters
Women's cricket is still not considered as popular the men's game. Philip Brown / Reuters

The history of women's cricket is almost as long as that of the men's game. The first recorded match involving females took place on July 26, 1745, and they have made significant contributions towards the development of cricket since.

According to historians: "Overarm bowling was probably a refinement of a round-arm action developed in the early 19th century by Christina Willes to circumvent the restrictive women's costume of the day."

Women also came up with the idea of a World Cup, organising their first in 1973, two years before the first men's championship.

Yet, they had to wait until 1999 to get membership to the MCC – after 212 years of male exclusivity.

A similarly seismic change happened this month. Jackie Janmohammed has taken over as the chairwoman of Cricket Kenya. She is the first woman elected to the top post of a national board.

Janmohammed has officiated in cricket matches as well, including one involving the UAE and Pakistan in Kenya. The Pakistanis refused to take the field after realising a woman would be umpiring, but were forced to come out after Janmohammed threatened to award the game to the UAE.

She is likely to face similar challenges in the boardrooms of international cricket, but Janmohammed should be an inspiration for more women to come forth.

Donning the umpire's blazer would be a good start and that would certainly keep the foul mouths on guard. Because cricket is a gentleman's game, right?

arizvi@thenational.ae

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