MOUNT MAUNGANUI: Star India opening batter Smriti Mandhana has hailed “inspirational” Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof for setting an example for sportswomen across the world by returning to play six months after giving birth to a child.
After they beat arch-rivals Pakistan by 107 runs in the Women’s World Cup on Sunday, some Indian players were seen having a good time with Maroof’s daughter Fatima with pictures and videos of them playing with the six-month-old girl going viral.
Vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Renuka Singh Thakur, Meghna Singh and Richa Ghosh were seen making playful gestures at the toddler cradled in Maroof’s arm.
“Coming back post pregnancy in 6 months and playing international cricket is so inspiring. @bismahmaroof setting an example for sportswomen across the globe,” Mandhara wrote in an Instagram post.

“Lots of love to baby Fatima from India and I hope she picks the bat just like you bcoz lefties are special.”
After the match, the ICC tweeted along with a photo: “Little Fatima’s first lesson in the spirit of cricket from India and Pakistan.”

Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar was quick to chip in with his admiring comment.
“What a lovely moment! Cricket has boundaries on the field, but it breaks them all off the field. Sport unites!” he wrote in a tweet.

Even before the game, photographs of Maroof entering the stadium in Mount Maunganui with her daughter — born in August last year — cradled in her arms had become an instant hit on social media.
That 30-year-old Maroof was able to travel to New Zealand with her daughter — as well as her mother, Fatima’s carer — as Pakistan Cricket Board’s maternity rule allows the mother “to travel with a support person of her choice to assist in caring for her infant child”, with travel and accommodation costs shared equally between the board and the player.

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By Dipak

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