GeneralA Vital Cog of Pakistan’s Batting Lineup and Karachi’s Finest Export to Women’s Cricket: Javeria Khan

A Vital Cog of Pakistan’s Batting Lineup and Karachi’s Finest Export to Women’s Cricket: Javeria Khan

In the heart of Karachi, amidst the bustling streets and enthusiastic culture emerged a name that resonated with talent, resilience, and unwavering determination – Javeria Khan. She has not only left an indelible mark on women’s cricket but has also become a symbol of inspiration for aspiring cricketers, especially young women, across the globe.

Javeria Khan, known for her quiet and composed nature, who doesn’t like to operate in loud sound bites, has consistently been Pakistan’s dependable batter for well over a decade. Throughout her career, Javeria has backed herself and her technique to navigate through challenging situations. As the watchful protector of Pakistan’s batting lineup, she has often played the role of a repairer, delivering under pressure when needed.

Debut Series

Javeria Khan made her international debut in the Women’s ODI Asia Cup in a pool match against the Lankans on May 6, 2008. After losing the first three matches against arch-rivals India, followed by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, captain Urooj Mumtaz called in a young off-spinner for the fourth game.

After a wicketless debut game, Javeria Khan turned the game against Bangladesh, both with bat and ball. The young off-break bowler didn’t disappoint her captain and won the Player of the Match award.

Pakistan found themselves in a dire situation at 39-5, with Bismah Maroof, Nain Abidi, and Urooj Mumtaz already dismissed. Stepping in to rescue Pakistan alongside senior batter Sajjida Shah was the 20-year-old off spinner. Javeria Khan’s contribution of 18 runs proved crucial as Pakistan managed to reach a 110-run total. In reply to Pakistan’s total, Bangladesh batters struggled to contend with the skills of the young finger-spinner, who eventually achieved remarkable figures of 6/8 in 8.1 overs. For her splendid all-round performance, Javeria was declared the Player of the Match. The Urooj-led side had a disappointing Asia Cup campaign, as this was their only win of the tournament out of 6 matches.

Javeria went wicketless in her third and final match of the debut series, but her 20 runs with the bat were the highest as Pakistan faced a batting collapse against rivals India.

Banned from Bowling

After making her international debut on May 6, 2008, two years later, on the same day (May 6, 2010), Javeria Khan’s bowling action was reported during a match against Sri Lanka in the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 in St Kitts. On July 10, 2010, the ICC suspended Javeria Khan’s bowling action as illegal and banned her from bowling.

After being banned at the age of 20, devastated, Javeria might have quit cricket altogether if it hadn’t been for her mother’s reminder of why she had gotten into the game in the first place.

Javeria’s family, friends, and the PCB women’s wing encouraged her to play as a batter instead of quitting. Later on, her brother coached her to become a batter during Ramadan 2010. He played a huge role in her comeback. During Ramadan in 2010, late at night before Sehri and two hours before Iftar, Javeria would bat while her brother bowled to her.

Javeria Khan reflected on how difficult it was to switch from bowling to batting, telling The News, “It was in 2010. Cricket was almost over for me, but my family, senior teammates, and the PCB women’s wing encouraged me to bat. Transformation is not easy. It requires a lot of time, hard work, faith, and dedication. I am very happy that I’ll now be able to play as an all-rounder.”

A Vital Cog

Javeria Khan remained a vital cog of Pakistan’s batting lineup for over a decade. After switching from bowling to batting, she became Pakistan’s most dependable batter, scoring over 4000 international runs.

First Glimpse of Javeria Khan, The Batter

The first glimpse fans had of Javeria Khan as a batter came when she scored her maiden ODI fifty in a low-scoring chase against Sri Lanka on April 21, 2011. After Sri Lanka was bowled out for 153 in a one-off ODI at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo, Pakistan didn’t start the chase well, with top-order batters Bismah, Nida, and Nahida departing early. Pakistan found themselves at 21-3 at one stage, but a fighting fifty from Javeria and contributions of 20s from captain Sana Mir and Asmavia Iqbal helped Pakistan across the line with two wickets to spare. Javeria scored an unbeaten 63 off 118 balls and steered Pakistan home in Colombo.

ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier against South Africa

On November 24, 2011, in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier, in a must-win semi-final match to qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2013, Javeria Khan once again rescued Pakistan after a top-order collapse in a 180-run chase. After winning the toss, the South African side scored 180 runs in their full 50 overs. During the chase, the main batters once again crumbled under pressure, and Pakistan were 43-4 when Bismah departed for 23.

Javeria Khan stepped up to the occasion once again and absorbed the pressure. With a cool and calm demeanor, Javeria scored a fine 47 off 75 balls and put Pakistan in a winning position. Later on, contributions from low-order batters Marina and Asmavia steered Pakistan to victory. Under immense pressure, Javeria ensured that Pakistan would qualify for the ODI World Cup, which would take place two years later. Pakistan defeated South Africa in this all-important semi-final by three wickets with 13 balls to spare.

Maiden ODI Ton

On January 13, 2015, Javeria Khan became Pakistan’s second woman to score an ODI ton after Nain Abidi. In a match against Sri Lanka at Sharjah, she scored an unbeaten 133* off 141 balls in a record 245-run chase. Javeria started the innings aggressively with two boundaries in the fourth over and regularly collected singles and twos. She never let the run rate rise above 5.30 with her positive approach throughout the innings. Javeria hit 12 fours to complete her first ODI century. An unbeaten 127-run stand between her and the captain, Sana Mir, helped them chase down the target with seven wickets to spare.

That was Pakistan’s highest run-chase in a 50-over game until it was broken last year in December against New Zealand, chasing 251 and winning it in the Super Over.

Second ODI Ton

On March 20, 2018, Javeria Khan became the first Pakistani woman to have scored two ODI tons. She achieved this feat in a match against Sri Lanka in Dambulla. Javeria walked in at 15-1 and helped Pakistan recover well from the early loss of the opener. She batted through at one end and struck her second ODI ton to help Pakistan reach a 250-run total. Javeria’s innings of 113* off 142 balls included 15 fours. Her second ODI century helped Pakistan go 1-0 up in their three-match series, part of the ICC Women’s Championship, against Sri Lanka.

Speaking to The Observer minutes after registering her second ODI ton, she said, “Scoring a century against Sri Lanka was a very emotional experience. It is/was special because it came at the time when my team needed it the most with four players down. So yes, I am happy and humbled. I would dedicate this century to my family for being a source of constant guidance and support.”

Javeria’s Fifty Saves Pakistan From a Whitewash

On February 03, 2021, in her second-last series as captain, Javeria saved Pakistan from a whitewash against South Africa by scoring a resounding fifty in the third T20I at Durban after missing the first two T20Is. Just as she had done many times in her career earlier, she rescued her team from embarrassment.

Opening the innings once again, she batted through the innings to score 56 runs against an attack led by Shabnam Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, and Masabata Klaas. Pakistan won this final match of the series, averting the perilous threat of a whitewash.

Struck By a Fierce Bouncer

On March 16, 2016, during the Women’s World T20 in India, Javeria Khan was struck below her ear by a bouncer from Shamilia Connell in the first over. She attempted to pull the ball but misjudged it, resulting in the ball hitting her on the thumb and deflecting to hit her between the jaw and neck. She was knocked to the ground and was subsequently taken off the field and shifted to the hospital for a CT scan. Fortunately, the scans revealed that she was stable, and no major internal injuries were detected. However, her thumb was fractured, ruling her out of the tournament.

World Cup 2017

Besides facing a ban on bowling and dealing with injuries throughout her cricketing career, the 2017 ODI World Cup campaign marked one of the darkest periods for Pakistan’s most reliable batter, Javeria Khan. Not only did she struggle to accumulate runs, but she also experienced a loss of confidence in playing the ball. She consistently missed straight deliveries and was frequently struck on the pads. She only managed to score 127 runs in 6 matches.

Reflecting on her World Cup 2017 story, Javeria said, “Cricket teaches you your aim. It makes you mature quickly. World Cup 2017 made me believe that I should quit cricket. Even today, when I talk about that, my emotions get attached. I lost all my confidence and didn’t believe I could do anything. I was failing to score runs, and perhaps because of my poor form, our team could not cross the winning line. I was trying, but I lost trust in myself and kept missing straight balls and getting hit on the pads. It felt like I had forgotten how to play cricket. After returning, I was confined to my room for two months. Although my family always supported me, society never did until we won the two gold medals (in the 2010 & 2014 Asian Games).”

World Cup Captaincy

After the disappointing 2017 World Cup, Javeria Khan returned to an ICC tournament as a captain in the 2018 ICC T20 World Cup. Although her stint as captain wasn’t particularly successful, with Pakistan only managing to win one out of four group matches, her performance as a batter was remarkable. Despite struggling with confidence previously, Javeria emerged as the fifth-highest run-getter in the tournament in 2018, showcasing her determination, focus, and hard work.

Javeria scored 136 runs at an average of 45.33 and a strike rate of 130.76. Her standout performance came in a match-winning innings of 74* off 52 balls against Ireland, leading Pakistan to their first and only win of the tournament. Pakistan won by 38 runs, and the captain was rightfully declared the Player of the Match.

“I hail from a tribal background (Torghar – district in the Hazara Division of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan) where men didn’t know about cricket. But, if you ask them now about women’s cricket, they will tell you my name with pride.” ~ Javeria Khan


Javeria Khan announced her retirement from international cricket on March 21, 2014, concluding her 15-year tenure with the national women’s team.

Making her international debut against Sri Lanka in 2008, Javeria participated in 228 matches for Pakistan, accumulating 4,903 runs, which included two centuries and 25 half-centuries. Additionally, she secured 28 international wickets.

She stands out as the sole women’s cricketer in Pakistan to have surpassed the 2000-run milestone (in T20Is and ODIs) besides former skipper Bismah Maroof.

Javeria has been a part of the national side in four 50-over World Cups (2009, 2013, 2017, and 2022) and all eight editions of the T20 World Cup since its inception. Furthermore, she contributed to Pakistan’s gold medal victories in the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games held in China and South Korea, respectively.

In her leadership capacity, Javeria captained the Pakistan women’s team in 17 ODIs and 16 T20Is. Notably, she led the side in two editions (2018 and 2020) of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cups.

Javeria’s retirement note on X read, “There was joy and sorrow, but above all a sense of great pride that kept me going for 15 years. The privilege of wearing Pakistan’s jersey was way bigger than the odds that struck through my cricketing journey. I am blessed to have lived my life doing what I loved doing the most and will continue to do so. Now when I look back, it gives me great satisfaction to see that the path that my friends and I chose to walk on was least trodden when I started playing professionally, but is now open for so many girls in Pakistan.

“Things change, scripts change, and new paths beckon. There is a time for everything, and now I believe is the best time to call it a day and announce my retirement. However, I’ll be available to play league cricket,” she concluded, thanking the board, her family, and supporters.

The opinions expressed solely belong to the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Grassroots Cricket.

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