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April 26, 2020

Sana Mir announces retirement from international cricket


April 26, 2020

KARACHI: Sana Mir, arguably Pakistan’s most celebrated woman cricketer, on Saturday announced her retirement from international cricket.

Sana, 34, a former Pakistan captain who rose to the No.1 ranking in ICC bowlers list in 2018, said in a statement that she believed it was the “right time to move on”.

Regarded as an ambassador for the sport both within Pakistan and around the world, Sana represented Pakistan in 226 internationals since her debut in 2005, and was captain in 137 of them.

An astute off-spinner, Sana is Pakistan’s leading ODI wicket-taker with 151 wickets in 120 games at an average of 24.27, while her 89 women’s T20I wickets from 106 matches are only behind Nida Dar’s 98. This puts her joint-fourth on the list of all-time ODI bowlers in the women’s game along with West Indies’ Anisa Mohammed, after India’s Jhulan Goswami (225 wickets), Australia’s Cathryn Fitzpatrick (180) and Ellyse Perry (152).

Sana is also Pakistan’s third-highest run-scorer in ODIs (1,630), and is among a select group of players to have the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in ODIs. She has the rare achievement of having played 100 T20Is.

Her feats carried her to No.1 on the ICC Women’s ODI Rankings for bowlers back in October 2018. She can count the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games gold medals among her tally.

Sana hasn’t been in action since the T20I against Bangladesh in Lahore in October 2019. The following month, she announced her decision to take an indefinite break from the sport as she evaluated her future. She was not named in the T20I squad for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia earlier this year.

“Last few months have provided me with an opportunity to contemplate. I feel it is the right time for me to move on. I believe I have contributed to the best of my ability for my country and the sport,” she said in a statement.

“During my cricket journey, I have met and built strong friendships and bonding with some amazing cricketers in women’s cricket. Listening about their stories and philosophies have not only made me a tougher and stronger athlete but have also taught me great things about life, which are beyond yourself or the sport or winning and losing.

“When I reflect on my debut, it gives me great satisfaction that I have been part of the process that has eventually resulted in a packed-to-capacity Lord’s for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 final, something that was further boosted by a record 87,000 spectators for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. These are great success stories for women’s cricket.”

Sana received glowing tributes from her peers and cricket officials on Saturday. “She has been the face of Pakistan women’s cricket for many years and the real source of inspiration for the young generation of women cricketers,” commented Wasim Khan, CEO of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). “Through her determination and passion, Sana broke the glass ceiling for women cricketers in the country

“Sana is a true legend of women’s cricket who attracted, inspired and motivated young women athletes.”

Having started out as a young girl playing on the streets of Rawalpindi, Sana has gone on to become one of the stalwarts of the women’s game. With her retirement, she leaves behind a legacy of achievements on and off the field.

She never shied away from stressing the importance of girls taking up the game of bat and ball.

Having made her debut back in 2005, Sana is Pakistan’s most-capped female cricketer, and has led them in more matches than anyone else. She marked her 100th ODI – the first woman from her country to get to that landmark – with a fifty, in the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup match against New Zealand.

She was the first woman from Pakistan to reach 100 wickets, achieving the feat during their game against Bangladesh in the 2017 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier. At the time, she was also only the sixth to achieve the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in the format.

Having started out as a pacer before a stress fracture forced a switch to off-spin, Sana is seen by her contemporaries as a clever bowler. Her tally includes one five-for, and 11 four-wicket hauls across formats.