MURIDKE: Eighteen-year-old fast bowler Diana Baig hails from Gilgit and is the only uncapped player in the Pakistan cricket ICC Women's World Cup squad.
The lanky first-year student made a place for herself in the team through her hard work.
“I play for the Islamabad region under-19 side and was picked for the team by the selectors during the matches organised by the Pakistan Cricket Board [PCB] last month when I took five wickets in one game,” she said.
The youngster is totally into her bowling and says that she is not really as good a batswoman.
“But Sir Mohtashim is helping me with my batting, too. Still, expect me in the tailenders in the batting lineup,” she said modestly.
Diana says that she suffers from the usual fast bowler's temperament but is usually mad at herself instead of the player facing her. “It is, after all, my fault when the batter scores on my ball. I really curse myself when I can't maintain a proper line and length or lose my rhythm,” she confessed.
Her captain Sana Mir is glad to have a player like Diana in the side. “It is thanks to our improved domestic structure that talented girls like Diana, who are not from the big cities, are also being discovered. Last year, too, we took two uncapped players – spinner Elizabeth Barkat and all-rounder Jaweria Rauf – with us to the Women World T20 Tournament in Sri Lanka. And this time we have Diana,” she said.
Of the two earlier discoveries, though Elizabeth is still in the team and is expected to create a lot of problems for the opposition with her spin, Jaweria could not be selected this time around.
“With so much talent around, the girls know that they have to work extremely hard if they want to stay in the team. That's also why we are training with the reserves in the camp, who despite knowing that they won't be going to India are working as hard as the others. Their hard work will pay off, too,” said the team's chief coach Mohtashim Rasheed.
Meanwhile, as it was announced by the ICC on Friday that the Group B matches featuring Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa will be moved to Cuttack in Orissa due to security concerns, the final preparatory camp for the World Cup has been in full swing at Lahore Country Club in Muridke.
Pakistan's star off-break bowler Nida Rashid Dar gave her team members, coaches and manager quite a scare when she hurt her right foot as she was hit with a yorker during a practice match with under-16 boys a couple of days ago but is recovering well now.
“We were all very tense until we took her to Lahore for an x-ray. Luckily nothing is broken and we will have her back on her feet in a couple of days,” Sunaina Munir, the team physiotherapist, informed.
While Nida rested her injured foot in her room, the rest of the team missed net practice due to non-stop rain in Lahore and Muridke. Still they more than made up for it by working on their fitness indoors with their trainer Yasir Malik after an intense aerobics session with skipper Sana Mir and pacer Qanita Jalil.