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We talked to Esra Alhamal about the art of Islamic enlightenment, Azeezat Adeola about mindfulness in knitting and how to start and knit for social issues, Neda about pole fitness, confidence in her body and online trolls, Chaimaa Creates in baking and cake design, Katie Haseeb in illustration and fine art, Brooke Benoit in jewelry design, Firdaws Clotaire in ceramics and pottery, and Zainab Alema on her journey to becoming a professional rugby player and encouraging more Muslim women to get involved in the sport.

This week we talk to professional cricketer Abtaha Maqsood. She explains how she got into cricket and how she hopes to inspire a new generation to take up the sport.


How would you describe

I am a Scottish professional cricketer currently playing in The Hundred tournament for Birmingham Phoenix.

How did you come to cricket?

My father – who is from Pakistan – is a big cricket fan. My siblings and I used to play in the garden with him. It was always such a fun time, especially when I took it out! He taught me all the basics and he is a big inspiration to me.

women's cricket

What is your favorite thing about cricket?

Cricket is a real community and I not only enjoy playing the game but also doing it with my friends. I have known Sarah Bryce (Scotland) since I was 11 and we have become lifelong friends. There’s nothing better than celebrating with each other when we’re in the middle.

What’s the hardest thing in cricket?

The most difficult aspect of cricket is the pressure of performance. Women’s football is growing fast and the crowds are getting bigger and every game is becoming a big event, but with that comes the pressure to deliver – I thrive on that.

Abtaha-Maqsoods

Abtaha Maqsood in art form

How do you stay motivated?

I’ve always wanted to be the best cricketer I can be and being in The Hundred allows me to do that. I play with and against the best female cricketers in the world, so I always have to be ready to give it my all. The Birmingham Phoenix team are fantastic and we are all determined to win the competition.

What are you most proud of in your work and your life?

Last year, I was really proud to know that I would be playing in The Hundred. As a practicing Muslim, I hope to inspire young Muslim girls to start playing cricket or any other sport.

How do you organize your time?

It’s difficult! As a full time dental student and professional cricketer my social time is quite limited, especially with my family living in Scotland. But I’m incredibly proud of what I do, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

muslim cricketer

Who are you the biggest source of inspiration?

My biggest source of inspiration is my father because it is thanks to him that I started cricket. I talk to him regularly and he always pushes me to be the best I can be. On the pitch, I admire Bismah Maroof (Pakistani cricketer) who recently gave birth and immediately returned to international cricket. I think it’s amazing.

What advice would you give to people new to the game?

There will always be ups and downs in any sport, but it’s important to motivate yourself to keep going. Cricket can be very difficult at times, but it’s a game for everyone and there is a fantastic support system, whether it’s your family, your coaches or your teammates.

cricket ground

Can you tell us more about The Hundred?

The Hundred was the best experience of my life! The competition is much bigger than I ever imagined and I’m incredibly proud to be part of it. The crowds are fantastic and really supportive, so the atmosphere inside the pitch can be amazing. I am incredibly lucky to play for Birmingham Phoenix because it has given me so many memories already. I didn’t know anyone when I arrived and now I have so many good friends. I love calling Edgbaston ‘home’.

Tell us more about bespoke Hijab and why it’s so important?

I am really happy that The Hundred contacted me and offered me the opportunity to design a bespoke Birmingham Phoenix hijab. I was part of the design process and really enjoyed it because no one had done it with me before. It’s a very big moment for me to know that I have the support of The Hundred and the England & Wales Cricket Board – I hope many young Muslim girls will be inspired when they see me wearing it.

For more information on The Hundred or to find out when Abtaha and the Birmingham Phoenix team have their next game, please visit www.thehundred.com