With the appointment of journalist Hijab Zahid to succeed retiring general manager Haider Azhar, the Multan Sultans would become the first T20 franchise in Pakistan to have a female general manager. Zahid, who is now employed with Grassroots Cricket, will become one of the few female general managers of a T20 franchise in the entire world.
The ownership of the Sultans, who have advanced to the PSL final in each of the last three seasons and won the league in 2021, will change this year. The franchise’s lone owner, Alamgir Tareen, passed away last month. Ali Tareen, who shared ownership of the business until 2021 with his uncle Alamgir, will now become solely responsible.
28-year-old Zahid will also hold the title of PSL’s youngest general manager. She has served as the director of Grassroots Cricket since the beginning of the year. A former media manager for Islamabad United, Zahid holds a master’s degree in project management from the University of Hertfordshire.
Zahid is “the most qualified general manager among all PSL sides,” Tareen told ESPNcricinfo. In addition, he pledges to appoint three female coaches before the PSL season begins and to implement gender parity at the franchise.
“Hijab was the first person that came to mind,” Tareen claims. She was the first person I wanted to speak to since I felt she was much more capable than what her current position required of her.
Although Zahid claimed she “only needed to think about it for a minute,” she is well aware of the difficulties the position will present.
She stated, “As a woman, it’s a lot harder to assert authority. It’s traditionally more difficult for men to follow instructions from a woman. In spite of their own faults, there are people in our sector who have never interacted with women. This is especially true given the current power structure.
Therefore, I anticipate that there will be a lot of discussions and seminars on having a woman in a management position here. In Pakistan, people are accustomed to women holding such roles in business, but this is less the case in sports. We intend to prepare people to work as analysts, presenters, and media managers in the future. Many women’s doors will be opened by it.
Men’s T20 teams still don’t have enough female general managers, especially outside of the Big Bash League.
Despite a few exceptions, women are still underrepresented as general managers of men’s T20 teams, particularly outside of the Big Bash League. An analogous role is played by former English cricketer Salliann Briggs with the Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL. Former Sydney Sixers and Adelaide Strikers players Jodie Hawkins and Kate Harkness According to Tareen, he is aware of the job left to be done and the franchise he recently acquired in Pakistan, where this presents particular cultural challenges.
For the management and the players’ media training, he declared, “I will hire a company.” ” We want more women in the management team, in addition to those who wear the hijab. This is not a quota or box-ticking exercise. The topic is equal opportunity. Typically, sides only interview men for these positions. We want more women to apply for these positions as well.
“We try to hire three female coaches in addition to the three male instructors we now have. Before the PSL begins, we want to have them set up. I anticipate that the female coaches will be foreigners for the time being, and when we have a women’s team, we anticipate that these coaches will stay on and assist us with the women’s squad as well. As long as I’m the owner, I want to achieve gender balance, starting with this season.
Zahid called Haider Azhar, her predecessor, a “one-man army,” but she claims she will approach the job in a different way and won’t be present in the dugout during PSL matches. She acknowledged that she would need to adjust to others, but she also had some learning to do herself.
“Let’s take our captain, Mohammad Rizwan, who I have always found to be extraordinarily respectful. I will therefore always respect his convictions if they are strong, and I hope to receive the same respect in return. But that’s difficult because you don’t always get that in return. But I’ve had a great time working in this field. The difficulty is making the players feel comfortable, even though I’m used to dealing with them.
But ultimately, in Zahid’s opinion, it’s about the job. “Just because I’m a female general manager doesn’t imply I’ll just employ women for specific tasks. It involves updating our workplace culture for the twenty-first century. Being a good administrator is more important than being a woman.
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