GeneralAao Khavateen, Khelo Khavateen

Aao Khavateen, Khelo Khavateen

From Friday, 22nd to Sunday, 24th of March 2024, Kutchi Memon Ground in Karachi came alive after iftar to host Khelo Khavateen, KheloKricket’s women-only Ramzan cricket tournament. Now in its seventh edition, the tournament was bigger and better than ever, with 12 teams, over 120 players, cash prizes and gifts from Hobnob and Sana Safinaz, high-quality live-streaming, and an audience comprised of families, friends, and anyone interested in watching fast-paced, 5-overs cricket late into the night.

We were treated to last-ball thrillers…

Khelo Stars celebrate after Maryam Altaf pulled the last ball for 6 to secure an unlikely and thrilling win.


magnificent catches…

BSL Champions’ Syeda Insharah Asad prepares to catch a ball that Syeda Aroob Shah hit high in the air.


consecutive sixes and fours…

Laiba Fatima of BSL Champions, the Batter of the Tournament, shows off her power-hitting skills.


and many a ball that disappeared well beyond the boundary walls.

Syeda Arijah Haseeb of Athletic Club plays a slog sweep that goes all the way.


It was tape ball cricket at its finest, featuring girls who have represented Pakistan at various levels, girls who play in academies, girls who have played school and university-level cricket, girls who have only ever played with their cousins, and girls who like watching cricket and joined in to see what it was like.

The top 2 teams, BSL Women and Athletic Club, posing for a picture ahead of the final.


Some participants were new to Khelo Khavateen, while others were veterans of the tournament. Some had signed up simply because the Google form appeared on their Facebook timelines, while others were instructed by their coaches in order to gain valuable tape-ball experience. Everyone, however, played for the love of cricket.

Anosha Nasir, one of Pakistan’s most exciting young prospects, won Bowler of the Tournament.


“I honestly feel like we stumbled upon the women’s cricket arena or rather lack thereof,” says founder Hadeel Obaid. “Women are often the afterthought in cricket, too. Ramzan nights often see street lights & stadiums filled with men playing cricket, but the women only watched from their windows. The KheloKricket Ramzan women’s night cricket tournament is my favorite weekend of the year. It’s a time when women get to come out, showcase their skills, try their hand at a sport we’ve all grown up around, but more importantly, claim a space that traditionally has never been theirs. There’s something powerful about women coming out to play at night.”

“I love that the momentum of this event continues to grow, that we’ve been able to create that safe space where we went from 4 teams to now 12 teams participating. It’s exciting; you can see how much more acceptable women’s cricket has become and how aspirations and dreams of taking the sport seriously are starting to sink in for many of these cricketers and their families. It may be a very, very tiny initiative in the grand scheme of things, but we’re always hoping to do more.”

Through Khelo Khavateen, Hadeel Obaid and her team have served women and cricket in Karachi for many years now. Certainly, as she says above, they will continue to do so.

For a few days a year every year, they bring more women together than perhaps any other organised cricket tournament in this part of the country. This becomes especially important when you consider that this is Pakistan, where the board just barely delivers 1 or 2 domestic tournaments in a calendar year, where the women’s T20 league and its exhibition games get canceled before they ever materialize, and where opportunities from gully cricket to international cricket are few and far between.

The champions, Athletic Club, pose with the winning trophy.


And so, Khelo Kricket’s role becomes so much more difficult and so much more important. With little visibility and opportunity for women’s cricket, Hadeel and her team’s efforts to provide a safe space for girls and women to play cricket and win prizes is a rarity and a herculean task. And somehow, they do it anyway, steadily increasing the number of teams, sponsors, and prize money every year.

Now, they are almost unrecognizable from their first edition 8 years ago, which lasted all of 1 night and had just 4 teams. The Player of the Tournament that year was a 14-year-old girl who bowled short and fast, impressing teammates, opponents, and the few spectators who showed up.

This is her here:

Nearly 8 years later, this same girl is the vice-captain of Pakistan’s national team and one of the finest fast-bowling all-rounders in the world.

Khelo Khavateen, like Fatima Sana, has grown since then.

The number of girls willing to play cricket has grown. After this past weekend, my inbox is full of parents who have questions about domestic contracts and girls with Babar Azam’s picture as their WhatsApp display picture who want to know which academies in Karachi they can enroll in. Now, the system and the PCB must respond to this growing demand.

While Khelo Khavateen may not be the multi-city, month-long franchise tournament we are owed by the PCB, it is a tournament borne not of a board’s desire for profit but a fan’s love for cricket and women in cricket.

Like women’s cricket, despite many hurdles, Khelo Kricket continues to soldier on. It is not massive (yet), but it is something. And in a country with little else for women’s cricket, in a city with few safe spaces for women’s sports, it is everything.

For more information on Khelo Kricket and their many grassroots cricket initiatives, visit and follow @KheloKricket and @hadouken51 on X (Twitter).

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