Skipper Bismah returns as Pakistan announces squad for Women’s World Cup

Published January 25, 2022
CHIEF selector Asmavia Iqbal, flanked by Pakistan women’s team captain Bismah Maroof, speaks during a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium on Monday.—Online
CHIEF selector Asmavia Iqbal, flanked by Pakistan women’s team captain Bismah Maroof, speaks during a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium on Monday.—Online

LAHORE: Bismah Maroof will lead Pakistan in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand as the national women’s selection committee announced the squad for the tournament to be played from March 4 to April 3 on Monday.

The event will mark Bismah’s return to international cricket after two years as she took a break from the game for the birth of her first child in December 2020. She will be accompanied by a support person, as part of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s parental policy, to help her look after the newborn, while keeping her focus on cricket.

The Asmavia Iqbal-led selection committee has called up leg-spinner Ghulam Fatima, who last played for Pakistan in 2018, and opener Nahida Khan, whose last international outing was in January last year, after impressive performances in practice matches during the recent camp held in Karachi.

Veteran all-rounder Nida Dar has been appointed as the vice-captain for the World Cup while batter Iram Javed, all-rounder Tuba Hassan and wicket-keeper Najiha Alvi are the traveling reserves.

“I want to congratulate every player who made it to the squad for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup,” Asmavia said during a press conference here on Monday. “We considered the conditions and challenges our team will encounter in New Zealand along with the current form of players and the team’s balance while putting together this squad.”

Pakistan skipper Bismah said she was looking forward to leading Pakistan in such a high profile event after coming back into the team after a long maternity gap.

“It is a great honour for me to lead my country into another World Cup. I am thrilled to be back in action and do what I love and have dedicated my life to,” said the batter.

“The recent selection matches proved to be fruitful for me and the whole side as we got some match practice under a competitive and challenging environment leading into the mega event.

The aim is to reach the World Cup semi-finals and I believe this team has the potential to pull it off,” added Bismah.

Kainat Imtiaz and Sadia Iqbal who were part of the World Cup qualifiers squad miss out on selections because of injuries.

The Pakistan squad will begin the final phase of their preparations with a 10-day pre-departure camp in Karachi from Jan 27. They will depart for New Zealand on February 8.

The eight-team tournament will be held on a single round robin format with Pakistan scheduled to play their first match against archrivals India at Tauranga.

Squad: Bismah Maroof (captain), Nida Dar (vice-captain), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sandhu, Omaima Sohail, Sidra Amin and Sidra Nawaz Traveling reserves: Iram Javed, Najiha Alvi and Tuba Hassan

Schedule:

March 6: Pakistan vs India, Tauranga

March 8: Pakistan vs Australia, Tauranga

March 11: Pakistan vs South Africa, Tauranga

March 14: Pakistan vs Bangladesh, Hamilton

March 21: Pakistan vs West Indies, Hamilton

March 24: Pakistan vs England, Christchurch

March 26: Pakistan vs New Zealand, Christchurch.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2022

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