Star all-rounder Sana Mir was the notable absentee as Pakistan Women’s cricket team held a training session on Thursday at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore for their upcoming T20I series against Bangladesh, which starts this weekend.
Mir’s unavailability was on account of her trip to the United States, where she is to receive the Asia Game Changers Award.
The players paid special attention to their physical fitness and fielding practice during the morning session today, which was scheduled to last three hours. Meanwhile, the afternoon session at the stadium has been assigned for the visiting Bangladesh team. The golden-coloured trophy for the series was unveiled later in the day in the presence of Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof and her Bangladeshi counterpart, Salma Khatun.
Maroof, during the press conference, thanked the Bangladesh side for visiting Pakistan. She said that she would not underestimate their guests.
A major star missing in action would be Nida Dar, who is currently taking part in the ongoing Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia.
“By playing the WBBL in Australia, Nida Dar will get the exposure she would not have got here,” Maroof said.
The skipper admitted that representing the country should be the priority for any player but added that allowing Dar to feature in the WBBL was the board’s decision.
Maroof also paid a tribute to former team coach Mark Coles, who resigned from the position earlier this month citing “family responsibilities”.
“Petty things are part of life but the presence of Mark Coles improved the team’s performance and we learned a lot from him,” she said.
Khatun, the Bangladeshi captain, meanwhile, thanked Pakistan for inviting her team over. She said that her experience of playing in Karachi earlier was pleasant and hoped that it would be the same this time as well.
She said that playing against a higher-ranked opponent in their own backyard will be tough but vowed to play “good cricket” regardless of results.
The opening clash of the three-match T20I series will be played on Saturday, with the subsequent to games set to be staged on October 28 and 30 respectively.
Mir, a former captain and a veteran presence in the side, is expected to rejoin the rest of the squad on Saturday — the exact day the series kicks off.
The Pakistan U16 would take on Bangladesh U16 in a three-day fixture at the Khan Research Laborites Stadium (KRL) in Rawalpindi from tommorow Friday.
The Bangladesh U16 were on their return tour to Pakistan after beating Pakistan U16 2-1 in the three 50-over matches series and 1-0 in the two three-day match series at home in April-May this year, said the information made available here on Thursday by the Pakistsn Cricket Board.
The two teams were scheduled to play a series of two three-day matches and three 50-over matches from 25 October to 8 November,all five games would be played at the KRL Stadium in Rawalpindi.
Pakistan would be captained by all-rounder Aliyan Mehmood who has featured in five 50-over matches and one T20 match for Pakistan at the U16-level. Mohammad Waqas would be the vice-captain who has featured in three 50-over matches and two three-day matches.
Pakistan would be banking on their fast bowling department with the likes of Ahmad Khan, Aseer Mughal and Khalid Khan. Abbottabad’s Ahmad Khan, has featured in six 50-over matches for Pakistan picking 14 wickets while he grabbed four wickets from the two three-day matches in Bangladesh.
Rawalpindi’s Aseer Mughal was the most successful bowler in the three-match 50-over series for Pakistan against Bangladesh U16 with eight scalps despite the visitors losing the series 2-1. He also took seven wickets in the second three-day match which was a drawn match at Sheikh Abu Naseer Stadium in Khulna.
Quetta’s Khalid Khan took eight wickets with an average of 15.50 in the same series. His best figures of 5-33 in an innings came in a losing cause at the Fatullah Khan Saheb Osmani Stadium in Fatullah.
On Thursday, the two captains Bangladesh’s Nayeem Ahmed and Aliyan Mehmood of Pakistan – had a picture opportunity with the series trophy with Aliyan hoping to play a competitive series.
Aliyan Mehmood said: “This is going to be an exciting series, as we will be playing a competitive side at our home ground. We have prepared really well for the matches, the coaches have worked really hard on us and we will come up with a strategy to start the series on a positive note.”
“Captaining the side is a huge honor for me. I am grateful to the management for having faith in my abilities and I look forward to perform to the best of my abilities and bring positive results for the team.”
“We have done our preparations; the series provides an equal opportunity for both the teams to showcase their talent.”
Bangladesh have named left-handed batsman Nayeem Ahmed as their captain for the series.—APP