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With pl­en­ty of energy and high hopes, the Pakistan women’s cricket team is ready for the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Colombo. We know the enormity of the task as well as its importance and that makes us more passionate and determined to do well in this event.

If we do well, we not only qualify for this year’s World Cup but also become part of the second edition of the ICC Women’s Championship, which will commence later this year. These are big incentives and will help our progress in the future.

We approach the World Cup qualifier with a positive mindset, and within the unit there is a resolve to not only qualify for the bigger and mega event but also win the event.

Women’s cricket has attained greater heights since it came under the ICC’s umbrella in 2005. We all know that improvement in women’s game is more visible now and the profile of the game has been raised globally.

The ICC Women’s World Twenty20 last year was very competitive, where we saw South Africa tie a game against Australia, we beat India and the West Indies emerged as champions. As a senior pro, I feel women’s game is heading in the right direction and the improvement will be rapid in the years to come.

Coming back to the Colombo qualifiers, I feel the format is very good, competitive and offers all sides equal opportunity. I remember, we were part of the World Cup in 2009 which was played on the same format. The format allows all sides a good chance and that is an encouraging sign.

The format also guarantees each side that will qualify for the pinnacle women’s event a minimum of six matches, which is extremely helpful and useful in preparations for the event proper to be staged in England and Wales from 24 June and 23 July.

From our perspective, we are satisfied with our preparations as we were put into rigorous routines.

As for the competition, the two groups are of five teams each. In our group, we have South Africa and Sri Lanka, both of whom we have beaten in the past. We also have a good record against Bangladesh and Scotland, while we don’t know much about Papua New Guinea as a team but we are sure we can beat them.

So, the first task will be to qualify for the Super Six stages. We know that South Africa will face problems in Asian conditions so we will try to exploit that.

Once we progress to the Super Sixes, we have a few bigger goals — the prime being to beat India and then go on to win the championship. We have not beaten India in a one-day, but last year’s World Twenty20 win over them will surely inspire us this time. There is always a first time and when you aim positively, better results come.

Reaching the ICC Women’s World Cup will be a great achievement. I led the team in the 2013 event, while I was Urooj Mumtaz’s deputy for the Sydney tournament in 2009. The first one in 2009 was the first major event for most of us and we managed to beat Sri Lanka, while in the India event in 2013, we didn’t do well despite having a good squad. So, we need to improve significantly on that, come the 2017 event.

On a personal front, it has been a long journey for me. I am satisfied with what I have achieved. Leading Pakistan has been a great honor. The trust Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has shown in me has been very helpful and encouraging. I have always strived to lift our standards in general and women’s game in particular.

Before the qualifiers, I am reminded of a personal milestone of needing two wickets to become the 15th bowler to claim 100 or more wickets in One-Day Internationals. While it will be a big personal achievement, my main focus is to give a perfect performance for the team.

Lastly, through this message, I would like to pay tribute to Rachel Hayhoe-Flint, the icon of women’s cricket. She was one of the pioneers of our game and no praise is enough for her contributions. Women’s cricket will need more of such icons to get more recognition.

(Sana Mir is Pakistan’s women cricket captain. She has to date represented Pakistan in 90 ODIs and 75 T20Is since making her debut in 2005. In ODIs, she has scored 1,144 runs and taken 98 wickets, while she has scored 664 runs and taken 66 wickets in T20Is).

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2017

Comments (28) Closed

No Comments Feb 03, 2017 10:55am

best of luck

kya Feb 03, 2017 10:52am

good luck girls. hope you will perform well. this women captain has better record than misbah and afridi who earns millions.

Raghu Feb 03, 2017 11:15am

best of luck .

surya Feb 03, 2017 11:17am

Best of luck

k p rao chennai Feb 03, 2017 01:18pm

Madam - May your wish come true. God be with you.

Raj Feb 03, 2017 01:26pm

Good luck Pakistan!

Shampee Feb 03, 2017 02:02pm

I think different and realistic, I do say good luck but previous statistics do not fortify such ambition, we are use to, with views before starting series and after ending series.

israr Feb 03, 2017 02:05pm

Yes v encouraging to see sana Mir this confident, I see Pakistan women team's major issues on two fronts one they cannot hit six they just cannot they don't have the technique they cannot pick the balls to hit six plus they just don't understand a 4 is just 2 runs less than a six 2ndly the issue with our seamers is that they don't have the pace that is needed to get early wickets asmaviya is the only seamer and she too is not brilliant at best may be a support bowler u need wicket takers I will be watching new team in Colombo and will assess based on their performance, their performance in uk last year was pathetic to be honest they were making same mistakes time and again and being hit by the two openers times and again

ABL Feb 03, 2017 02:32pm

Good job, guyz... And well written Kaptaan!! Looking forward to good and positive cricket. You and your team are the much needed role models for many young girls in our country. wish u'all good luck.

Citizen Feb 03, 2017 03:12pm

Optimism is something but over confidence is another. Last time too Captain talked more, achieved less. Focus on game is better than bragging.

Anjum khalid Feb 03, 2017 04:09pm

Dear Sana, it is possible, but u have to change attitude of selection, on merit not personal choice, it is said that many players selected on your personal choice, if it is on merit result will positive other personal like dislike ? you have to stop this. let merit work.

Desi Feb 03, 2017 04:19pm

Please don't make statements like the men's team before the games which all proved to be wrong. Just go play and perform to the best of your abilities. Wish you all the best.

bashir shubarati Feb 03, 2017 04:29pm

@Anjum khalid : correctly said, no more personal pirchi choice, take lesson from Misbah / Afridi both are in trouble, due to big talk no result ? we need result from women team which is presently where poor.

Pakistani Feb 03, 2017 05:03pm

Good luck girls. Right now you are our only hope left in cricket.

Syed Feb 03, 2017 06:33pm

This lady is amazing. Her determination and resilience is what is keeping the women's team in the news and something to be proud off. Women's competition at the top two is very competitive and Pak has a long way to go. But at the same time the Pak men's team from the early 50's beat the English in England on their first tour against all odds. I find the same drive in this Sana led team. Best of luck. It doesn't matter whether you win or lose, just you leading the nation and fighting is making us proud.

Bored Feb 03, 2017 07:45pm

After the blind team, even the Women's team is more confident than Pakistan's regular cricket team

WAHEED Feb 03, 2017 09:26pm

Just like the men's team talk big deliver nothing

PR MAN Feb 03, 2017 09:44pm

You are it. We are with you. Go, spill your guts, it's effort that counts.

Faisal Feb 03, 2017 09:57pm

Women in the best Pakistan women cricket team .

Citizen Feb 03, 2017 09:51pm

It is illogical to assume that team defeated South Africa years ago and based on that we can defeat them every time.. We lost to West indies, what will happen during next encounter?

Et Feb 03, 2017 10:50pm

Easy to say, Australia is the toughest team to beat

Haider Feb 03, 2017 11:00pm

Below average team.

TK_NYC Feb 03, 2017 11:03pm

Equal pay for men and women team. More sponsorship and TV coverage. GGG - #GoGreenGirls

saeeds Feb 03, 2017 11:31pm

Self Belief ,confidence and hard work are the recipe of successes good luck

adeeb khan Feb 03, 2017 11:46pm

Talking high don't make the difference, we should abandon cricket like we did for hockey.

Falcon Feb 04, 2017 03:08am

Really? Let us see.

Abu Azaan Feb 04, 2017 05:02am

It reminds me a Pushto Tappa [stanza], saying if the young men fail, O homeland the girl would keep you up! wish you the best

chota Feb 04, 2017 05:22am

Points Table

Teams Mat Won Lost Tied N/R Pts Net RR For Against Australia Women 21 18 3 0 0 36 +0.980 4555/908.3 3957/981.0 England Women 21 14 6 0 1 29 +1.047 4315/898.2 3616/962.4 New Zealand Women 21 13 8 0 0 26 +0.441 4011/941.4 3804/996.2 West Indies Women 21 11 10 0 0 22 +0.128 3810/987.0 3689/988.2 India Women 18 9 8 0 1 19 +0.138 2965/771.4 2986/806.0 South Africa Women 21 8 12 0 1 17 -0.234 3566/907.5 3681/884.3 Pakistan Women 18 4 14 0 0 8 -1.126 3171/871.0 3648/765.2 Sri Lanka Women 21 2 18 0 1 5 -1.538 2983/955.4 3995/857.3