Aisha Jalil is a trailblazer in international cricket, driving women’s participation from the pitch to the boardroom. As Manager of Game Development at the Pakistan Cricket Board and Manager of the national women’s team, Ms Jalil is the architect behind a new approach to engaging women and girls in cricket from junior sport through to elite international representation.
Ms Jalil’s passion for cricket was sparked on the streets and grounds of Karachi, where she grew up playing with her three brothers. At the age of 16, her passion turned into opportunity, when Ms Jalil was selected to represent her country in Pakistan’s first International Women’s Cricket team. During their inaugural international tour in New Zealand and Australia in 1997, she batted the first ball ever bowled to the team overseas.
Ms Jalil’s love of the game didn’t end on the pitch. After completing undergraduate studies in finance and an MBA in Pakistan, in 2009 she secured a DFAT Australia Awards Scholarship to study Sports Management at UTS, completing a Masters of Management leading to a distinguished career in sports management. During her studies in Sydney, she was also part of the team that coordinated the 5th International Working Group on Women and Sport Conference, stimulating debate and exploring positive change for women and sport around the world.
Upon returning to Pakistan, finding a role in Sports Management proved challenging for Ms Jalil, with limited opportunities for women in sports administration in a country that was at the time still under-investing in the women’s game. Instead, she took on a role in youth development, using sport as a tool for improving health outcomes and capacity building among students and teachers. Alongside that, she along with her team developed and implemented pilotly a new curriculum for fostering fundamental sports skills from a young age. This work led to her undertaking a research project on the impact of sports based youth development initiatives in Pakistan.
In 2015, her dreams of working in Sports Management at the top levels of international women’s cricket finally came true, when she was appointed Assistant Manager at Pakistan Cricket Board – Women Cricket Department. Today, as Manager, she’s in charge of game development programs in Pakistan, nurturing young players, managing the international operations of the women’s team and developing cricket structure to engage and develop the next generation of aspiring international cricket players. Beside that, concurrently her assignment is the development and fielding-in of the U19 Women’s Team at the ICC U19 T20 Women Cricket World Cup, scheduled to be held in January 2023 in South Africa.
Ms Jalil is determined to debunk stereotypes about women in sport. Named in the 2018 Muslim Women in Sports Powerlist as one of the 30 most influential Muslim women in sport in the world, her goal is to move from management in Women’s Cricket to international operations management for Men’s Cricket, not only in Pakistan but also globally – to demonstrate the critical role women can and should play in all areas of sports management internationally.
See Aisha’s response here to being named the Awardee of the Alumni Award for 2022.