When you do a random search on the internet about Pakistan woman cricketer Diana Baig, the only thing that strikes you is her birthplace. Gilgit, which was once part of Jammu and Kashmir, is home to the Baigs.
But as the 20-year-old pacer speaks, one realises that the birthplace is not the only interesting thing about her. She is the only player, who after winning her first international cap for Pakistan as a cricketer, has represented her national team in football as well.
Baig picked up sports as a javelin thrower and a shot putter. But her athletics career was cut short after she got a chance to play cricket. “Everything happens for a reason and God balances it out for better,” she says. “From childhood, I was inclined towards sports. Not just cricket. Volleyball, athletics, badminton and we used to play all sports. But I was into athletics in Gilgit. One day, five years back, my coach said since I throw javelin, can I also try my hand at bowling? I said yes. He told me that a team from Gilgit was to leave for a tournament in Islamabad and made me captain.”
“I represented Islamabad for two years and then I was selected for the national A team. I was in the squad for the 2013 ODI World Cup in India but made my debut against Bangladesh last year,” says Baig who is yet to play her second game, both in ODIs and T20s.
“In 2014 after the cricket season was over, a friend asked if I was interested to play football and the Gilgit district team was looking for a defender. The selectors were impressed and got picked for the national camp. I played for Pakistan in the SAFF Championship in Islamabad that year,” she says.
There were more surprises. Shoaib Akhtar is not her idol. “I like Umar Gul. And the way Mohammed Hafeez bats,” she says. “Gul is my favourite. I have seen him once but want to meet him one day,” Baig says.