August 22 is quite an eventful date for the world for a unique constellation of independent events occurring on the date shaping it in different ways. As early as 1603, on this very day, man laid the first stones at Amsterdam-bound Zuiderkerk. In 1639, the famous Indian city of Madaras was founded this very date by the-then ruling British East India company using Sliver of land.
In 1770, James Cook’s famous expedition landed on the East coast of Australia and over a century later, circa 1901, the world found to its merriment the formation of the Cadillac motor company on this date.
Then later on this date in 1987 one of Madonna’s greatest singles, “Who’s that Girl” became the number #1 chartbuster hit.
But there was something else too, albeit in the firmament of sport, that made August 22 a unique date, a date that no Pakistani will ever forget.
It was on this date, back in 2012 that Nain Abidi stroked the first-ever ODI century for a Pakistan batswoman.
To strike century and score runs in cricket is equivalent to a doctor succeeding by way of treating patients, saving lives and being recognized for victory in the strife against mortality.
But to be the first to do so beckons celebrations, marking a moment that becomes timeless in the strands of history.
What’s rather fascinating about Nain Abidi- one of the most studious and determined Pakistanis to ever wield the bat in a nation obsessed with Cricket- is that since her dogged ton in ODIs, only one other batter has gone on to register another three-figure score in the format.
The special feat belongs to current Pakistani captain Javeria Khan, who with her 133 unbeaten runs stroked her proud nation to a sweet victory over Sri Lanka.
But that Nain Abidi, well over 1600 runs in 50-over cricket, held the major record for no fewer than half a decade underlines the importance of a feat that since its conception has gone on to inspire countless girls in a land where heroes in cricket have always been men.
Think the great Wasim Akram, the yorker king Waqar Younis, the elegant Saeed Anwar, the brave Javed Miandad, the iconic Hanif Mohammad, and the wild and winning Shoaib Akhtar to quote just a few.
A technically correct batswoman known for playing every delivery to its merit aligning technical virtuosity and patience, Nain Abidi has been a senior figurehead of a team that today sits beautifully on a mélange of wealth of experience and exuberance of youth.
While her 101 unbeaten runs thumped an Ireland powered by the likes of Isobel Joyce, Laura Delany and the modern great Kim Garth, that the maiden ODI ton by a Pakistani batter came of just 129 deliveries meant a certain fluidity about the knock that’s remembered even fondly today.
That’s when it’s been nearly a decade since the match-winning knock neutralised the Irish at their own backyard, in a lush-green Dublin.
But all of that said, what must be said about Nain Abidi- nearly 2,600 runs for Pakistan- is that Karachi’s finest export to the women’s game arrived early in the game in which she’d become a force to reckon with.
In a sport so often obsessed with numbers and big achievements, Nain Abidi duly underlines the value of longevity, without which one cannot walk the distance in sport.
For someone who arrived in the game aged just 21 back in 2006 and since then has gone on to represent one of cricket’s most mercurial outfits for 155 international appearances, Nain Abidi is a giant of the game, albeit an underrated one.
In this stat-obsessed number crunching age where anyone can become a hero on any given day courtesy social media posts, and trolls break hearts and reputations, Nain Abidi has been an athlete who’s conducted herself with a sense of dignity, focused on cricket and not in the theatrics that have become a normality.
That the love for cricket in her case hasn’t subsided one bit whatsoever, despite marriage and moving bases, actually relocating millions of miles afar from Pakistan to the United States is something worthy of respect.
Just is the fact that even after embracing motherhood, parenting a beautiful young boy, Nain Abidi is still involved with the game, now dedicating herself to lift the United States Cricket team.
At a time where the rigors of life especially after the massive change marriage and responsibilities beckon make one fall out of the sport, taking the convenient route of prioritizing family over anything else, Nain Abidi, 12 fifties for Pakistan, is balancing cricket and personal commitments beautifully.
And guess what! In doing so, she’s creating a new template of inspiration for fellow mothers to follow, those who thought juggling tasks with a kid and husband and a family commitment was just not possible.
Women today have gone way beyond merely breaking the glass ceiling; they’re wielding the cricket bat on the 22 yards whilst running after the naughty toddlers in malls and parks whilst putting them to sleep after a long day’s run.
And where it comes to doing both with her quintessential zeal and understated appeal, Nain is doing her bit despite being in the sphere for no fewer than a decade and a half.
May runs and many through fifties and tons come her way and lift her United States cricket team to a new pedestal in the game!