Humaira Farah, the first woman umpire from Pakistan. © PCB

Pakistan cricket has certainly come a long way in the past year or so. It all began with a first-ever girls academy in Balochistan, then a high-performance camp for the women’s team then came very positive news of nine female umpires participating in the annual workshop for umpires and match referees. While players often hog the limelight as well as headlines, quietly, an umpire has found her way into the spotlight.

Humaira Farah, on Wednesday (September 11) became the first female umpire from Pakistan. She has a very good track record, having so far officiated in 170 matches at different levels. To add to that, she has also played hockey at the national level and also worked as a sports administrator for the past 28 years.

Humaira is currently working as a Director Sports at Lahore Garrison University, and is also pursuing her doctorate in sports science.

“In the year 2005, I heard, the PCB was setting up a women’s wing and that is when I decided to pursue umpiring,” said Humaira. “The same year, I took part in the PCB Panel I and II umpiring courses and started my umpiring career. I am proud of the fact that I became the first female umpire in the country and since then eight more female umpires have emerged.”

Humaira, who idolizes Aleem Dar and Ahsan Raza, is looking forward to carrying their legacy of umpiring at the highest level.

“I am very confident of making a big name and inspiring other umpires. I want to emulate Aleem Dar and I also look up to Ahsan Raza.  With more women games than ever taking place in the present PCB set-up, I feel more female umpires will emerge soon.”

Humaira is the only one from her family to take up a career in sports and much of that credit goes to the support she received from her mother.

During her early days as an umpire, there were no facilities or to help with her development, but following the PCB’s involvement in women’s cricket, things have become smoother.

“I feel honoured that I have inspired other umpires. Initially women were reluctant and unsure about umpiring opportunities. Through the efforts of the PCB, women’s cricket has become popular across the country and there are more opportunities in the field than before,” she said. “Gradually we will see more women entering the fray (as umpires) and that will only help in increasing the standard further.”

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