The Educationist conducted a detailed interview with Pakistan cricketer Diana Baig who was originally an athlete based in Gilgit and accidentally became national team player of Pakistan at the age of 17. Following are the details of our discussion with her:
The Educationist: Tell us about your family?
Diana Baig: Well, my father is a contractor whereas my mother is housewife, I have four sisters and two brothers to be specific. I am the youngest sister. We were born and bought up in Gilgit, Baltistan.
The Educationist: Do you have any siblings or relatives in the field of sports?
Diana Baig: No, none of my siblings or relatives have chosen this field. My elder brother, however, was interested in different kinds of games, especially cricket. I have always watched him, admired him, and played with him. But other than me, none of my siblings have chosen this field, they are all studying in different fields.
The Educationist: What is your story of cricket? How did all this begin?
Diana Baig: Cricket became a part of my life quite unexpectedly. I used to play athletics back there in Gilgit, my couch asked me to play cricket in a team going to Islamabad. Luckily I was selected and went to Islamabad to play against Islamabad; at that time, I was around 14 years old. After my endless efforts and training I was selected in Pakistan’s Women Cricket Team at the age of 17 in 2013. That was when my cricket actually began. Now, I have a society in my university that is Lahore College for Women University, where I play and receive my actual training.
The Educationist: How do you manage your studies with your profession?
Diana Baig: I can’t really focus on my studies as we have a tight schedule, I have to go to camps, I have to get training and play matches. I also have to travel, so this really disturbs my studies. But, I comprehend all that I have missed by staying here in the university even in summer holidays and attending summer semesters and clearing all my exams.
The Educationist: What are your interests in football?
Diana Baig: Football was like and unexpected road that you discover while going somewhere else. I was in Islamabad to play a cricket tournament and a friend of mine told me that a football team has come here from Gilgit, he suggested I play with the team. I played there and was selected by the camp. That camp was of around 50 girls. Then I was selected in Pakistan’s team and went to Bahrain to play. Then there was a “Safe championship” in which all Asian countries participated, our team also played in that championship. That was my experience with football. As there is no much scope or future of football here in Pakistan, I prefer cricket over football.
The Educationist: Now that you play international cricket, what is your aim after completing studies. Do you plan on pursuing your career as a cricketer or something else?
Diana Baig: Well, I have planned to give my best to cricket and not just for the sake of the pleasure in playing cricket but also for my country, as it is very honorable to represent your country worldwide. But as there is an age limit for a player and cricket cannot be my profession after when I cross that age, I plan to start a couching center later on. To answer your question in simple words, yes, I will pursue my career as a cricketer.
The Educationist: What are your views about PSL and which team do you support?
Diana Baig: I think it’s a great platform for young cricketers. It gives them a chance to prove themselves. I support “Islamabad United” as I am also their ambassador.
The Educationist: What are the most recent tournaments you have played?
Diana Baig: We had a series against Sri Lanka, in Sri Lanka which happened to be great. We had put in a lot of effort and team work. The most recent was our tour to Malaysia, where we played against India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand. There we lost two important matches but learned a lot. We plan to put in more effort and good will.
The Educationist: Did you have to face any hurdles regarding your career as a player?
Diana Baig: There were no objections or any kind of pressure from my family, in fact they were my greatest support. However, the society played its role in bringing obstacles, raising barriers and of course pointing fingers. The society that we move in, especially the area where I belong, people comment on you in any and every way. Whether that be your dressing, your profession or anything; whatever is new to them is odd or more precisely embarrassing for them. The biggest problem I had to face was travelling, as I was a teenager who couldn’t travel alone, my father must be with me. Sometimes I felt like I was a burden for him, but he never said that. His faith in me was and still is my strength. As far as the society is concerned, people who pointed fingers at me back then, now praise me. They feel pride in telling others that this girl is from our area, look how talented I am. I personally think that when you have chosen a right path with dedication and devotion and your parents are by your side, then one should take Almighty’s name and move ahead.
The Educationist: What message would you like to give to the girls and parents out there who despite being talented do not step forward or are not allowed to step forward?
Diana Baig: Out there everywhere, there will be people who discourage you but parents despite all odds should encourage and trust their children. I would like to tell all the girls or children out there that do not break your parents trust, because with them by your side- you can become anything, but without them despite all your talents you will be nothing. So, to the girls out there- trust your parents and to the parents out there- trust your children.