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Sharmeen Khan, pioneer of women's cricket in Pakistan, dies

Along with sister Shaiza, Sharmeen had gone about getting women's cricket in Pakistan officially recognised in the mid '90s

Sharmeen Khan, one of two sisters all but responsible for the birth of the modern women's game in Pakistan, has died. Reports suggest that Sharmeen, 46, died of pneumonia.
Sharmeen played two Tests - Pakistan's women's team has only ever played three - and 26 ODIs between 1997 and 2002, opening the bowling with her right-arm pace and batting in the lower-middle order. Sharmeen, along with her elder sister Shaiza, played in Pakistan women's first ODI, in Christchurch in 1997.
But far more than her playing record, Sharmeen's role as a fiery advocate of the women's game in Pakistan in the mid-90s is her legacy. A year before that first ODI the two sisters had helped secure ICC membership for Pakistan women all on their own. It had not been easy, the sisters fighting off various conservative forces within the country, as well as administrative indifference. Those years were marked by various legal battles involving the control of the women's game - in Pakistan women's cricket dates back to the 1970s.
Such was their influence, the sisters had Pakistan's earliest tours in that era bankrolled by their father's business - training camps would be conducted by Sharmeen and Shaiza often at their sprawling residence in Karachi. The sisters set up the Pakistan Women's Cricket Control Association (PWCCA). This body was recognised by various PCB chiefs and was aligned with the International Women's Cricket Council (IWCC) in the days before the women's game came under the administration of the ICC.
Once that did happen, and the women's game in Pakistan came under PCB control, Shaiza and Sharmeen were edged out of the scene, though not without a legal fight.
Shaiza was the more dominant presence, much more vocal with her opinions and also the more gifted player of the two. But both sisters were recognised internationally - among their proudest achievements were representing the MCC when the club opened membership to women for the first time in 1999. And both Shaiza and Sharmeen, along with Kiran Baluch, were given lifetime MCC membership in 2003, in recognition of their pioneering roles in Pakistan.