Abtaha Maqsood: Scotland spinner in Ramadan, fasts and wears a hijab

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Meet three young British Muslim cricketers watching Ramadan this month

It can be incredibly difficult to watch Ramadan as an elite athlete who must always be at the forefront of his game.

Just ask the 21 year old Scottish cricketer Abtaha Maqsood.

"It's pretty difficult – it can be pretty intense at times," she told BBC World Service's Stumped podcast.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar that began on April 12 of this year, includes a month of fasting and means that Muslims do not eat or drink anything in daylight.

"It's just knowing your limits and not overdoing them, because obviously Ramadan is a pretty important time for us and we want to fast as much as possible, but if that means it will hurt us or affect our health, do we really have to do it. " Think about it, "said Maqsood.

Maqsood, who will play for Birmingham Phoenix in the first Hundreds competition this summer, travels to England for many of her games and says it makes fasting easier.

But game days are a different matter.

"When we have two Twenty20s in one day, I sometimes find it a little difficult, so I don't fast on those days," she said.

"How many fasts I miss in Ramadan, I'll make up for next year before Ramadan."

Maqsood, who has taken 19 wickets in 14 T20 games for Scotland, says her teammates "always have questions" but they always have their best interests in mind.

"You're pretty curious and I love that," said Maqsood.

"I love all the questions you have and they keep making sure that I am fine and that I have enough to eat."

Maqsood hopes that her participation in the Hundred of His Summer will inspire Muslim girls

The spinner with her left arm wears a hijab while playing and has been with us since school. She says it was "pretty daunting" at first.

"It's super important – when I was younger I never really saw a Muslim athlete wearing the hijab," said Maqsood, who combines cricket with a degree in dentistry at Glasgow University.

"It was daunting for me to go into this hall for the first time. I was scared, obviously people wanted to look at me and stare, but it takes a while to get used to it.

"That's one thing I'm really excited about: playing high-level cricket and wearing the hijab and making sure people see that and young girls who wear the hijab see that."

Maqsood, who dreams of leading Scotland to a World Cup, says she didn't find wearing the hijab a barrier, but accepts that it can be difficult for other girls.

"It's more like what people would say, it's not a physical barrier or anything," she said.

"I know that it can be quite difficult mentally to do sports and just wear the hijab with some people's mentality, like the cultural mentality that is not religious at all.

"I can understand that it's probably a barrier, but especially for me it was perfectly fine and I'm super happy with it."

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