Social media is a space where memes and trolls run wild. Infrequent but significant are occasions where you come across something meaningful.
In an age that’s so often about trolling another, rare are occasions where individuals take out time to express regard for one another.
And if one wished to see the bright side, then probably glancing past the world of women’s cricket on social media may serve an example just why that is.
It’s a space where you get a sense that honesty and passion flow above anything else.
A simple example of this was served through a Tweet that was produced three years back in time by a noted cricketer.
On 30 September 2017, Pakistan’s Nain Abidi said something poignant about her then-captain:
“You empowered us with the power of knowledge. You motivate us with the best tutelage. You are a true inspiration. Salute to You!!”
And you wondered there are emotions that even the 140-character limit cannot suppress.
The Tweet conveyed a sense of sincerity between the master and her gifted pupil.
Just like there was redoubtable sincerity with which Nain Abidi conducted herself in the middle.
Few other sites have provided such poise other than seeing Nain Abidi wield the bat.
Dane van Niekerk approaching the point of delivery is one. Mignon du Preez rebuilding an inning is another. There’s poignance in Mithali Raj taking guard.
But when Naid Abidi occupied the crease, there was a sense of assurance that the runs would come and the scoreboard would continue to tick along.
The kind of feeling you got in an important World Cup 2017 fixture against Sri Lanka women when batting first, Pakistan’s opponents set a tricky 222 to chase.
In reply, though the Sana Mir-led side found itself 15 shy of the target, it wasn’t without a seriously committed effort by an important figure up top.
Perhaps it may not be wrong to say that on July 15, 2017 Nain Abidi compiled one of the most valiant knocks conjured by a Pakistan batswoman.
At 43 for 2 when Sri Lanka removed Ayesha Zafar, Nahida Khan having departed earlier, there was a spot of bother around the Pakistan camp.
It didn’t take long for Sri Lanka to get Javeria Khan.
That’s when the panic began to set in, which is when Nain Abidi arrived to apply a balm of comfort to tense her team’s nerves.
Just as she often did in aligning responsibility to calmness, the trait of one who knows the way out of a tricky maze.
From the onset of the 16th over to the 26th, Pakistan were back in the contest.
No wicket fell. Runs were collected on either side.
The cuts, drives, the 1s and 2s became a regular feature; Nain Abidi was playing the sheet anchor role.
She looked, to be frank, very much the part of the unperturbable figure who had debuted back in 2006.
Remember the young 21-year-old who scored that unbeaten 23 off 44, presenting the quintessential watchfulness despite a barrage of wickets falling around her at Jaipur?
But this was different.
There was nothing like the familiarity of playing on the known sub-continental wicket.
This was a greener, slow wicket where you had to toil for runs.
And when Pakistan were dismissed for 206, the only notable mention was Nain Abidi, through 57 hard-fought runs off just 68 balls.
The mid-inning repairer, the accumulator, the one who darted away runs toward square on the off-side had held the fort aloft for a while.
This was pretty much the same valiant woman who notched up her highest individual score in 2012 when she struck a fine hundred against Ireland and took Pakistan home.
But in real, Nain Abidi’s maiden ODI hundred was a homecoming of sorts for Pakistan.
When on August 22, 2012, Nain Abidi came forward to Isobel Joyce, guiding the left-arm medium-pacer to the gap at point, she raised not only what would be her first-ever ODI century or one against Ireland (in Ireland), she would also raise the bar for cricket in Pakistan.
No batswoman up to that point had notched up an ODI century from Pakistan.
The next ODI century for a truly passionate cricketing collective would come three years later.
Javeria Khan would do what her compatriot had done years before.
Suffices to say for as long as the journey of women’s cricket in Pakistan will be narrated, the important and unsurpassable point in the discussion will be about Nain Abidi.
The very important bookmark in the rise of Women’s cricket in Pakistan.
Here’s a scorer of no fewer than 2600 international runs. A collector of 12 fifties and 1 international hundred.
The giver of hope to the very country where girls to this day soldier on against societal, often financial challenges to harbor a dream to represent their country.
Precisely what Nain Abidi successfully did for 13-long years with boundless enthusiasm and a reluctance to be anything else but simple for Pakistan.
So as the dogged right-hander turns 35, a question pops up.
Is a return to wearing the bright greens on the cards? Well, if you are listening- then there’s a lot you can still offer the game Nain Abidi.
Just imagine a batting order with Javeria, Bismah, Muneeba, and Nain Abidi back in it?
What a joy will it be to see the 155 international appearances cross the 200-mark.