Pakistan’s cricketers were due to be taking part in their own version of the PSL, the men’s version of which began on Monday. This season was originally scheduled to concurrently host a first women’s T20 league but that plan was shelved after a change in administration in December that saw Najam Sethi take over from Ramiz Raja as the board’s head. That league has now been postponed to September at the earliest.
Outside of Pakistan, the reaction to Pakistan’s absence has been fairly muted, with broadcaster Alison Mitchell being the most prominent critical voice highlighting the lack of “an equal opportunity”, and expressing concerns about the financial gulf it would open up between Pakistan’s female cricketers and the rest.
“Equality is only equality when all players have an equal opportunity to enter an auction,” Mitchell tweeted. “Feel for how much these figures will grow the gap between Pakistan players and the rest. No Pakistan players in WPL Auction as per IPL.”
Mumtaz said she “100% echoed” the view, as did another former Pakistan captain, Sana Mir.
“We, as Pakistan, don’t get many opportunities to play in the leagues and that’s very unfortunate,” she said. “Definitely, we would love to play and we want every opportunity we can get in the leagues. But yeah, it is what it is and we can’t control that.”
Pakistan’s total absence from the WPL aligns with their male counterparts’ absence from the IPL. Aside from the inaugural season in 2008, which took place during a brief political detente between India and Pakistan, no player representing Pakistan has taken part in the IPL. Azhar Mahmood played in 2012, 2013 and 2015, but by then he held a UK passport, and had registered himself for the league as a British citizen.