Dubai: Humaira Tasneem, who won the best women’s cricketer of the year award in the Shyam Bhatia annual awards, is on a mission.

Speaking to Gulf News after receiving the award from the legendary former Pakistan batsman Zaheer Abbas, Tasneem said: “I want more women to play the game here. I encourage everyone to take up the game. I am even coaching girls at the Al Sadiq Islamic school.”

Tasneem has shown the way for girls in the UAE with her fine all-round performances for the national team. She has represented UAE since 2008, playing in 25 matches and taking 22 wickets at an average of 16.31 runs. Her best performance was her spell of 5 for 18 against the formidable Hong Kong side in the Asian Cricket Council(ACC) women’s championship in 2013.

“I am from Hyderabad and grew up idolising Mohammad Azharuddin. He once blessed me and told my father to encourage me a lot. Today I idolise India’s Suresh Raina, who is a great fighter,” said Tasneem, who has just completed Grade 12 at school and is set to join the American University of Sharjah and will continue representing the UAE.

Tasneem also captained the UAE under-19 team in the ACC Under-19 tournament.“I am delighted with the exposure [I have had] so far in international cricket. I am thankful to Mazhar Khan [Administrator, ECB] for his encouragement. I make it a point to practice every day and my aim is to establish women’s cricket here and represent the UAE well. This award is a huge boost and will entice me to work harder,” she said.