When the captain of Pakistan women’s cricket team Bismah Maroof announced the good news that she is pregnant and is taking an indefinite break from cricket, this question also started where the series of congratulations to her started. What is the policy of Pakistan Cricket Board regarding pregnant players?
“I am delighted to announce that I am about to become a mother and enter a new chapter in my life,” Bismah tweeted yesterday.
I am delighted to announce that I am entering a new chapter in my life as motherhood beckons. I would like to wish the Pakistan women's team the very best as I take an indefinite break from cricket. Request for prayers and support. Thank you 🤗— Bismah Maroof (@maroof_bismah) April 16, 2021
Expressing good wishes for the national cricket team, he also announced his retirement from cricket for an indefinite period.
Bismah, who made her debut in 2009 in T20 cricket, is the highest run scorer for Pakistan in this format with 2225 runs. He is second in ODIs.
It is believed that 29-year-old Bismah Maroof was made the captain after the 2016 T20 World Cup, but due to multiple injuries, she was not able to captain for a long time.
A few weeks before the national team’s tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe in January this year, he was ruled out of the tour with the team, after which Jawaria took over as captain.
What is the current policy of PCB regarding pregnant players?
The current contracts of the women’s cricket team by the PCB do not mention anything related to leave including leave after pregnancy and other benefits or salary.
One of the reasons for this is that this is the first time that a player has been formally declared pregnant and according to a PCB spokesperson, this is a unique case and policy is being worked on in this regard. Is.
It is to be noted that for the PCB to implement any new policy, approval from the Board of Governors is required and according to the spokesperson, a formal announcement will be made next week.
According to the spokesperson, “Bismah is the captain and contracted player of the Pakistan cricket team and we will fully support him even before the regular policy comes out.”
He further said that it would be premature to discuss the contents of the policy in this regard at present but the PCB would try to assist them in every possible way.
Under normal circumstances, pregnant women are given leave at the official level, including three months’ salary before the birth of their first child. However, the same rules cannot be applied to players because the needs of the players are different.
It may be recalled that a bill passed by the Senate last year had recommended six months of paid leave for pregnant women with first child.
It was recommended that this period be four months for the second child and three months for the third child. The bill was also approved by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice. However, it has yet to receive unanimous approval from the National Assembly.
Why do pregnant athletes need more time to get back into the game?
Athletes have to withdraw from the game as soon as they become pregnant, and after a traumatic birth, which often requires surgery, their team’s return is a measure of fitness.
An example of a return to cricket after the birth of a child is Australian batsman Sarah Elliott, who returned to cricket in 2013 and scored a Test century against England. Interestingly, during the intervals during the match, she also breastfed her nine-month-old son.
New Zealand batsman and former captain Amy Setterthwaite has spent 18 months away from the game since 2019, including the time of pregnancy, childbirth and early care leave.
What is the policy for pregnant athletes in other countries?
In 2019, Cricket Australia introduced a special holiday policy to support pregnant players and their families.
The policy came after three years of negotiations between the players and the board. According to the policy, players will now be able to play roles other than playing cricket during pregnancy and their contracts will be extended until next year.
At the same time, as long as the child is four years old, the mother will continue to be given various benefits. If your partner is pregnant or about to adopt a child, leave is also granted, including three weeks’ pay.
The Australian Cricketers’ Association claimed that when a player became pregnant, his career was considered over, which did not allow such players to use their true talents.
Keep in mind that New Zealand players are also given paid leave in case of pregnancy.
The wife of New Zealand captain Amy Setterthwaite is his teammate Leah Tahoe who was playing cricket at the time. Amy returned to the team in late 2020.
However, due to his return after such a long time, he had to wash his hands of the captaincy, which he also expressed regret.