India opener Smriti Mandhana hailed Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof as 'inspirational', a day after both teams faced off against each other in the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup.On Sunday, after India defeated Pakistan by 107 runs at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, Mandhana along with vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Shafali Verma, Renuka Singh Thakur, Meghna Singh and Richa Ghosh were seen playing with Maroof's six-month old daughter Fatima.There was also a video of reserve India player Ekta Bisht playing with baby Fatima just after the end of the match. The pictures and the videos of the Indian team players playing with baby Fatima went viral on social media.Mandhana took to Instagram on Monday and praised Maroof's efforts in playing international cricket after becoming a mother."Coming back post pregnancy in 6 months and playing international cricket is so inspiring. @bismahmaroof setting an example for sportswoman across the globe. Lots of love to baby Fatima from India and I hope she picks the bat just like you because lefties are special," wrote Mandhana on her Instagram story.
Earlier, before the match, a picture of Maroof holding baby Fatima on her arm while another player helped in pushing the baby cradle became a huge source of delight on social media. The images also spoke of women making a comeback to international cricket after becoming mothers as a significant moment in the game. In the ongoing World Cup, there are eight mothers participating in the mega event."It was a very different feeling and coming back in a World Cup and playing a match. I was a bit emotional and my mother and my daughter is there - it was a special moment for me and I really want to make it count - this tournament- because they both are here," said Maroof after playing her first ODI match since February 2020, especially after taking a maternity leave and giving birth to Fatima.India will now face hosts New Zealand on Thursday at Hamilton while Pakistan will be up against Australia on Tuesday at Mount Maunganui.