Diana Baig shifts restlessly in her seat, checking her watch every few seconds at an awards ceremony after leading her cricket team to victory. Soon she has to play a football match at another venue, and time is ticking.
Baig is no stranger to the pressure. The talented 20-year-old plays for Pakistan’s national team in both cricket and football, representing the country as one of the “Girls in Green” at the recent World Twenty20 tournament in India in between practicing her penalty shoot-out skills.
“It was an honour to be selected for the T20 squad,” she says, in between glances at her watch.
She did not make the starting team, but being at the tournament — even from the sidelines — was “very encouraging for me — it gave me new life, a new energy”.
The 20-year-old grew up playing street cricket and football with other children in the magnificent Hunza Valley, their makeshift arenas ringed by some of the world’s tallest mountains in Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan.
The fact that she was a girl did not matter, she says: Baig belongs to the Ismaili sect of Shia Islam, who are followers of the Aga Khan — infamous in conservative Pakistan for their moderate views.
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Video: Pakistan’s Diana hunts for glory in cricket and footbal