Beyond boundaries: Australia empowering girls through cricket

Zubair Qureshi

The Australian High Commission (AHC) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) with the support of Islamabad Serena Hotel on Saturday hosted the 7th AHC-PCB Girls’ Cricket Cup in the federal capital featuring girl students of various schools of Islamabad.

The participating students participated in the event and showed excellent cricketing skills while a large number of spectators including local youth, players, coaching staff, teachers and parents of the players attended the event.

Australia’s High Commissioner Neil Hawkins in his address congratulated the girls and their schools— Mashal Model School Bari Imam, SOS Children’s Village H-11, Islamabad Model School for Girls – F-6/1 and Islamabad Model School for Girls I-9/1—for their overwhelming participation and welcomed the continued support of the PCB and Serena Hotels for the annual AHC-PCB Girls’ Cricket Cup.

He lauded the female students’ passion for sport and held this was the common link that binds the people and the youth of the two countries. “The Australian High Commission has been sponsoring girls’ cricket in Pakistan since May 2016 to promote gender equality through sport. We began with a single annual tournament in Islamabad but have since expanded to Lahore and Karachi,” Hawkins said.

“Our countries share a passion for cricket. It’s more than just a game – it’s a powerful tool for people-to-people connections, for social change. By supporting events like the Girls’ Cricket Cup, we’re promoting equality, opportunity, and hope. Every time these girls hit a boundary or make a catch, they are taking a step towards greater empowerment,” said Mr Hawkins.

The girls attended an eight-day coaching clinic in the lead-up to the competition conducted by PCB first class cricket coaches, led by head coach Wasim Yousufi, Manager Game Development Aisha Jalil and Head of Pakistan Women’s Cricket Tania Mallick.

Hawkins highlighted that the Australian High Commission was pleased to support the initiative during the Pakistan Super League, in which Australian players, including the Australian female cricketing star Tess Flintoff, is participating. “It’s an exciting time for cricket fans in both Australia and Pakistan. A shared love of cricket is one of the many bonds that bring our countries together,” he added.

Aziz Boolani, CEO Serena Hotels, in a message lauded the spirit of the participating girls. “This is the seventh year for Serena Hotels to be a part of this tournament. Cricket is a passion in Pakistan for men as well as women. We at Serena Hotels have been actively supporting and sponsoring all sports, including women’s sports. We truly believe in gender empowerment, which can only be realised if opportunities are provided for women to explore their true potential,” said Boolani in his message.