An illustrious career

May 10, 2020

Sana, a former captain and the most successful female spinner in ODI history, recently announced her retirement from international cricket

Cricket is the most popular game in sub-continent. Pakistan cricket team is one of the major teams in world cricket. However, women cricket is not as popular as men’s cricket in Pakistan.

Since the debut in 1997, the pathetic performances have continued series after series. Currently our team stands on the seventh position in both the ICC Women’s ODI and T20I rankings.

Out of 143 One-day Internationals, Pakistan have won only 40 matches and lost 101. Two ended without producing a result. Their winning percentage is just 28.36.

The Green-shirts have failed to win a single match against top three teams i.e. England, India, and New Zealand in 28 ODIs. Even with other teams their record is not so impressive. Against South Africa, they have won only three matches in 18 encounters, six out of 26 against Sri Lanka and five out of 22 against West Indies.

Pakistan women’s favourite hunting team is Ireland; they have beaten them 12 times in 18 matches and won five out of seven matches against Bangladesh. They have beaten Netherlands in seven out of 12 matches.

Pakistan women scored their highest total of 280-7 against Ireland in July 2013 in Dublin. The girls were bowled out for just 23 against Australia at Melbourne in February 1997.

Only two centuries have been scored: Javeria Khan (133 not out) against Sri Lanka in Sharjah in January 2015 and Nain Abidi (101 not out) against Ireland in Dublin in August 2012.

Pakistan played in all editions of the Women’s World Twenty20 to date, and also participated in the Women’s Asia Cup and the Asian Games cricket tournament.

Pakistan women cricket team made its One-day International debut in 1997, but never qualified for the World Cup semi-finals.

In the first World Cup appearance in 1997 in India, the team lost all the matches and finished 11th.

The girls tasted their first win in the 2009 World Cup when they beat Sri Lanka by 57 runs. They qualified for the 5th place playoff match defeating West Indies in the Super Sixes by four wickets, but finished 6th as they lost the game by three wickets against the same opponents.

Pakistan women didn’t qualify for 2000 and 2005 World Cups. They finished 6th in 2009, and 8th in 2013, in which they failed to win any game.

But despite consistent poor performance as a team, many Pakistani women cricketers have earned respect in international circuit. The foremost among them are Sana Mir, Bismah Maroof, Javeria Khan and Nida Dar.

Sana, a former captain and the most successful female spinner in ODI history, recently announced her retirement from international cricket.

Early this year, she was dropped from the squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia. “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.

Sana, 34, played 226 international matches. She is one of only nine women cricketers to have taken 100 wickets and scored 1,000 runs in ODI matches.

The all-rounder is Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker in ODIs, with 151 from 120 matches, averaging 24.27. She retires as the joint fourth-highest wicket-taker in women’s ODI cricket. Sana is also Pakistan’s second-highest wicket-taker in T20Is, behind Nida Dar, with 89 victims at an average of 23.42. She also scored 1630 runs in ODIs at 17.91 and 802 in T20Is at 14.07.

In 2007 she was selected to lead Karachi in the National Women’s Cricket Championship. She accepted the challenge and her side secured a stunning win over rivals Lahore in the final. She won the National Championship four consecutive times. ZTBL won the second BB cricket tournament under her leadership.

Sana was declared Player of the Tournament at the Women’s Cricket World Cup qualifier 2008. She was also the first woman cricketer to receive PCB Woman cricketer of the Year Award 2013.

Sana replaced Urooj Mumtaz as Pakistan captain on May 4, 2009, for World T20. She led the national team in 137 international matches. Under her leadership, Pakistan played 72 ODIs, won 26, and lost 45.

Out of her 65 T20Is as captain, Pakistan won 26 and lost 36. She stepped down from the T20I captaincy after the 2016 Women’s World T20, and lost the ODI captaincy in 2017 when the PCB elevated Bismah to the role.

She also led Pakistan in two World Cups and five T20 World Cups. She has two Asian Games gold medals from 2010 and 2014.

She led her team to wins against almost every major nation, and to series wins against Sri Lanka, Ireland, Bangladesh and South Africa. Her team qualified for every ICC event during her time.

“When I became captain, I was the only Pakistani in the ICC rankings. I was pleased when people congratulated me for it. But then the thought struck in my mind - the only Pakistani in the top rankings. This set my vision for the team,” she said in an interview.

Under Sana’s captaincy, eight players broke into the top 20 of ICC rankings. It showed that Sana had the ability to develop her teammates.

The year 2014 was the most successful one of her career. During the year, she took 21 wickets in 11 ODIs at 12.57. In October 2018, she topped the ICC ODI rankings.

Sana is arguably the greatest woman cricketer Pakistan has produced. She is a true legend of women’s cricket. She attracted, inspired and motivated young women athletes and will be remembered in women cricket for a long time.

Now it’s time PCB took women cricket seriously, started programmes to hunt young cricketers, and provided good facilities and infrastructure to develop their skills so that we may soon have more talented cricketers like Sana.

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Sana Mir's illustrious career