Jasia is currently in Dhaka, playing in the Women’s Dhaka Premier League (DPL) for Mohammedan Sporting Club. Jasia dreams of playing in the Indian team. She was wearing the Indian women’s jersey while training at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on Saturday.
Jasia first moved to Punjab and then to Rajasthan to fulfill her dream of becoming a cricketer. Jasia told Prothom Alo that she has been pursuing her goal of playing in the national team for the last decade.
“You can say that I left Kashmir to play cricket. The area I live in, southern Kashmir, is an important region. The situation there is dire on both side, India and Pakistan. When I had started playing, life there was very difficult.”
After playing for a state team, appearing in the women’s IPL and getting selected for the ‘A’ team, Jasia is now knocking at the doors of the national team. This is her second stint in the Women’s DPL. Previously, she had played in the 2014-15 season for Rupali Bank.
This season, she has scored 171 runs in four matches at an impressive average of 57. Jasia is most known as a hard-hitter. She has lived up to her reputation so far in the season, with a strike rate of 111.
Jasia’ batting philosophy is very simple – see the ball, hit the ball.
“I prefer batting aggressively. I don’t like to rotate the strike. After facing a few balls, I start swinging. I always try to score quickly.”
Jasia believes her background in athletics is the secret behind her hard hitting capabilities. In her school days, Jasia was the best in Kashmir in sprint. But the love of cricket made her ditch athletics.
It wasn’t easy for Jasia to make the switch. It was even harder for her as a Kashmiri girl to pursue cricket. The society wasn’t by her side from the beginning.
“There were a lot of social barriers. I was asked a lot of questions, heard taunts and endured criticism for playing cricket. Often a ruckus starts about me playing wearing a jersey. I’m the eldest of five siblings. To many it’s unthinkable that the eldest daughter of a muslim Kashmiri family is playing cricket. There were army officers everywhere and a warlike atmosphere. Playing cricket amid these things wasn’t easy.”
But Jasia’s family has been by her side from the beginning. Her father was a day labourer. He would set aside 50 rupees from his daily income of 400-500 rupees for Jasia.
Jasia never thought she would earn from cricket, let alone get sponsors. But all of this is now reality for her.
“I will never forget my father’s hardships. After I played in the IPL, Irfan bhai (former India cricket Irfan Pathan), got me a sponsor. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Before that, I was playing with bats I received as gifts. Now I will have a bat of my own! It all felt like a dream.”
Jasia is the biggest inspiration for women’s cricketers in Kashmir. The young girls in Kashmir now tell themselves, “If Jasia can do it, why can’t we?”
*This report appeared in the online and print edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ashfaq-Ul-Alam Niloy