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P
PPI
January 21, 2020

Muneeba, Aimen recalled for T20 World Cup, Sana left out

Sports

P
PPI
January 21, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan national women’s selection committee on Monday recalled Muneeba Ali and Aimen Anwar, and named uncapped Ayesha Naseem in a 15-member squad for the ICC T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia from February 21 to March 8.

The trio have replaced Nahida Khan, Ayesha Zafar and Rameen Shamim, who were part of the team that lost 3-0 to England in Kuala Lumpur last month. Urooj Mumtaz, the chair of the national women’s selection committee, said: “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 Sana Mir doesn’t feature in the 15-player line-up, I believe we still have the desired experience in the squad. Sana has been a phenomenal servant of Pakistan cricket while being an inspiration to many girls out there. Unfortunately, her recent performances in the T20 format were not on her side,” she argued.

“The team has been selected keeping in mind the current form and performances along with the conditions in Australia. We have come up with the right balance of youth and experience which will complement each other in the mega event. The selection of 15-year-old Ayesha and 16-year-old Aroob Shah should be a message for all the budding youngsters,” Urooj said.

“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,” she added. The average age of the side is 24.8 years.

Pakistan women will depart for Australia on January 31 and will play three warm-up matches against the West Indies on February 7, 9 and 11. Prior to the departure, the team will train from January 23-30 at the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre, Karachi.

Muneeba, who last turned out for Pakistan in November 2018, has been recalled on the back of a prolific National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship, in which she scored 292 runs at a staggering average of 58.40. In five innings, the left-handed opener scored a century and three half-centuries.

Ayesha has been inducted in the line-up for her hard-hitting abilities at the top of the order. The 15-year-old right-handed batter from Abbottabad scored 64 runs at a strike-rate of over 206.

Aimen, a right-arm medium-fast bowler, took four wickets in five matches, bowling at an economy rate of 7.68. She comes in as a new ball specialist to complement pacer Diana Baig and left-arm spinner Anam Amin in the Powerplay overs. She last played a T20I in February 2019 against the West Indies in Karachi.

Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof said: “I am pleased that we have come forward with the best possible line-up which has the potential to have an impressive run at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

“We have tried to strike the right balance of youth and senior players. While selecting the squad we considered the recent performances in the international and domestic events.

“It was a tough decision to leave out Sana Mir. I wanted to have her in the squad over which I, along with the selection committee, had deep deliberations. We had to decide between her and the emerging players who had been impressing on all the stages.

“I respect and support the decision of the major group and hope she will continue to serve Pakistan women’s cricket in future with the same passion and energy,” said Bismah.

Pakistan, drawn with England, South Africa, Thailand and the West Indies in Group B, begin their T20 World Cup 2020 journey on February 26 against the West Indies. They take on England on February 28, and South Africa and Thailand on March 1 and 3, respectively.

Squad: Bismah Maroof (captain), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Iram Javed, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Nawaz (wicketkeeper), Aroob Shah.

Officials: Iqbal Imam (head coach), Saleem Jaffer (bowling coach), Amir Iqbal (fielding coach), Gemaal Hussain (strength & conditioning coach), Dr Riffat Asghar Gill (physio), Aisha Jalil (team manager), Zubair Ahmed (analyst).