PCB announces Pakistan women's squad for T20 World Cup; Sana Mir axed

PCB announces Pakistan women’s squad for T20 World Cup; Sana Mir axed

Pakistan are clubbed with England, South Africa and Thailand besides the West Indies in Group B of the tournament.

Sana Mir
Sana Mir of Pakistan. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Pakistan on Monday announced their squad for the upcoming women’s T20 World Cup kicking off on February 21. The Women in Green have not done better than ordinary in the tournament ever since they have taken part in it starting 2009. In each of the six editions, Pakistan’s campaign has ended in the first round itself.

The Pakistan eves will be led by the experienced Bismah Maroof in the tournament. The veteran all-rounder, who has played over 100 ODIs and T20Is each, has also been her country’s second-most successful captain the T20Is after Sana Mir. Between 2013 and 2019, Maroof has led Pakistan in 36 T20Is, winning 15 and losing 20 while tying one. In the ODIs, she has led Pakistan 18 times, winning 10 and losing six and tying one while one game ended up inconclusive.

The team was selected keeping in mind the players’ forms and the playing conditions in Australia. While Muneeba Ali and Aimen Anwar were recalled, uncapped Ayesha Naseem was also picked. These three players replaced Naheeda Khan, Ayesha Zafar and Rameen Shamim who were in the T20I team that lost to England in Kuala Lumpur last month.

Pakistan squad’s average is 24.8 years

One notable exclusion from the squad was of former Pakistan skipper Sana Mir. The women’s selection committee didn’t include Sana in the squad, citing performances in the international and domestic events as well as the team combination considering conditions Down Under.

That the selectors picked the team keeping in view the future became evident from the fact that the average age of the World Cup-bound squad is only 24.8 years.

The squad will leave for Australia on January 31 and play a few warm-up matches prior to their maiden clash against the West Indies in Canberra on February 26. Prior to their departure, the Pakistan women cricketers will undergo an eight-day camp between January 23-30 at the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre, Karachi.

Pakistan are clubbed with England, South Africa and Thailand besides the West Indies in Group B of the tournament. Only the top two teams from each of the two groups will advance to the semi-finals.

Urooj Mumtaz, chair of the national women’s selection committee, was quoted in a statement issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board: “Jotting down the squad for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup was a tough task as many players had staked a claim in the side.”

“Though the players who have been left out will be disappointed and heart-broken, this, however, should act as a motivation for them to comeback more strongly. On the other side of the coin, the selection of 15-year-old Ayesha and 16-year-old Aroob Shah should be a motivation and message for all the budding youngsters.”

“Furthermore, the selectors have also valued our domestic competition, while also taking into consideration the players who have been regularly part of the side since the Bangladesh series.” Maroof, 28, said she was pleased that the best possible line-up has been picked and was confident of a good show in the showpiece event.

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