Despite immediately following the International Council of Cricket (ICC) Champions Trophy, when the world’s appetite for cricket had been satiated, the Women Cricket World Cup has received a lot of attention. Viewership and attendance numbers are the highest they have ever been for this tournament – all of which bodes well for the future of the sport for women.

Those hoping for the replication of the heroics displayed by the men’s team in the Champion’s Trophy will be disappointed. Despite putting in great performances with the bowl and fielding, the Pakistan team has been having a difficult tournament. They lost matches against Australia, India, and South Africa, with their only win coming against West Indies. While there is a fair bit of cricket left to be played in the tournament, expecting the Pakistan team to upset the dominance of the tournament favourites and unbeaten teams so far – Australia and India – is perhaps one target too far.

For the Pakistan team, putting in performances that sees them appreciated at home is a victory in itself. Nations like India, Australia and England have extensive facilities and support staff helping their women contingents, coupled with widespread public support. Compared to them, Pakistan’s cricket setup for women is still in its nascent stages.

If Pakistan wants its women team to replicate the success of the men’s side it must make the profession of a sportswomen acceptable in a conservative society. Almost all members of the Pakistani team have talked about facing pressure and disapproval in their professional careers at some point in time or another. While there have been great improvements in this regard, with the team frequently being celebrated on national television – a lot more can be proactively done to encourage talented women to join the sport.

Coupled with this must be a grassroots improvement of facilities, so that more women are able to play and discover their aptitude for the sport.