We’ve spoken to Esra Alhamal about the art of Islamic illumination, Azeezat Adeola about mindfulness in knitting and how to get started and knitting for social issues, Neda about pole fitness, body confidence and online trolls, Chaimaa Creates about baking and cake design, Katie Haseeb about illustrating and fine arts, Brooke Benoit about jewellery design, Firdaws Clotaire about ceramics and pottery-making, and Zainab Alema about her journey to becoming a professional rugby player and encouraging more Muslim women to get involved in sports.
Last month we spoke to Food photographer and blogger @Hebssweetly
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This week we speak to Professional Cricketer Abtaha Maqsood here she talks about how she got into cricket and how she hopes to inspire a new generation to get into the sport
How would you describe
I am a Scottish professional cricketer who is currently competing in The Hundred tournament for Birmingham Phoenix.
How did you get into cricket?
My dad – who is from Pakistan – is a massive cricket fan. My siblings and I used to play in the garden with him. It was always such a fun time, especially when I got him out! He taught me all the basics and he’s a big inspiration for me.
What’s your favourite thing about cricket?
Cricket is a real community and I not only love playing the game but doing so with my friends. I’ve known Sarah Bryce (Scotland) since I was 11 and we’ve become friends for life. There’s nothing better than celebrating with each other when we’re out in the middle.
What’s the most challenging thing about cricket?
The most challenging aspect of cricket is the pressure to perform. The women’s game is growing rapidly, and the crowds keep getting bigger and louder with each game becoming a big event, but with that comes pressure to deliver – I’m thriving on that.
How do you stay motivated?
I’ve always wanted to be the best cricketer I could possibly be and being in The Hundred is allowing me to do that. I’m playing with and against the best female cricketers in the world, so I’ve always got to be ready to give my all. The Birmingham Phoenix squad is fantastic and we’re all determined to win the competition.
What are you most proud of in relation to your work and life?
Last year I was really proud to know 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 organise 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 it for the world.
Who are you biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is my dad as he’s the reason I got into cricket. I speak to him regularly and he’s always pushing me to be the best I can be. On the pitch, I look up to Bismah Maroof (Pakistan cricketer) who gave birth recently and returned to international cricket immediately. I think that is incredible.
What would be your advice to people who are starting 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 really tough at times, but it’s a game for everyone and there is fantastic support system – whether that’s your family, coaches, or teammates.
Can you tell us more about The Hundred?
The Hundred has been the best experience of my life! The competition is far bigger than I ever imagined and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it. The crowds are fantastic and really supportive, so the atmosphere inside the grounds can be amazing. I’m incredibly lucky to play for Birmingham Phoenix as it’s already given me so many memories. I didn’t know anyone when I arrived and now I’ve got so many great friends. I love calling Edgbaston ‘home’.
Tell us more about the bespoke Hijab and why it’s so important?
I’m really happy that The Hundred contacted me and offered the opportunity to design a bespoke Birmingham Phoenix hijab. I was part of the design process and I really appreciated that, as no one has done this with me before. It’s a really big moment for me knowing I have the support of The Hundred and the England & Wales Cricket Board – hopefully, many young Muslim girls are 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
I'm a simply striving to be better and improve in different areas of my life through more self awareness, experiences and learning more about the deen. You'll find me talking about community, connection, planting & growing, seeking the truth in an age of propaganda and misinformation. This year I want to document more to do with food heritage and history so watch this space or reach out. Have a listen to the Amaliah Voices podcast where I talk passionately about Islam, nature, motherhooding and back home. Link in bio peeps. To join the Amaliah Writer Community email me at firstname.lastname@example.org IG: SelinaBakkar