Pakistan women’s cricket in 2019

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LAHORE (City News) – Women’s cricket in Pakistan continued to evolve in 2019. The Pakistan national women’s team reached new heights and the Pakistan Cricket Board undertook major initiatives to promote the game amongst young potential cricketers, said an official press release by the PCB.

Pakistan reached fourth spot in the 50-over ICC Women’s Championship after securing astonishing series win against West Indies women earlier in the year and securing a 1-1 tie against South Africa in an away series.

Their year had started off by hosting West Indies in Karachi for a three-match series and later in the year Bangladesh women toured Lahore for three T20Is, which Pakistan won 3-0, and a two-match ODI series that ended in a draw.

Pakistan hosted England women in Malaysia for the seventh round fixtures of the ICC Women’s Championship and three T20Is. Though, the Bismah Maroof-led side lost both series, the team showed marked improvement in their performances in all three facets.

The PCB also awarded better-paying and improved central contracts to women cricketers to narrow the gap between men and women cricketers. In a bid to take women’s cricket to every corner of the country, the PCB continued to expand the network of girl’s academies across the country, while organising domestic tournaments regularly to gauge the talent pool.

On the domestic front, the PCB organised two events namely Departmental T20 Women’s Cricket Championship, which was won by Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited Women, and National Triangular One-Day Women’s Cricket Championship, won by PCB Blasters.

In the Departmental T20 Women’s Cricket Championship Javeria Khan was the best batter with 240 runs and Almas Akram was the best bowler with 12 wickets, while Sidra Amin and Syeda Aroob Shah were the top performers in National Triangular One-Day Women Cricket Championship with 216 runs and 14 wickets, respectively.

The PCB, for the preparation of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Australia 2020, staged Skills2Shine U18 Women’s Cricket T20 Championship and a pool of best performing 25 players is undergoing an academy programme in Karachi.

The opportunities provided by the PCB saw Bismah Maroof named captain of a Women’s Global Development Squad (WGDS) for a tour of Australia, while Nida Dar became the first Pakistan woman cricketer to earn a contract with Sydney Thunder in Australia’s Big Bash League. Nida was subsequently named in the ICC Women’s T20I Team of 2019.

Pakistan national women’s team captain Bismah Maroof, while reviewing her side’s performances, said: “Overall, it has been a very good year for women s cricket in Pakistan. Our year started off by hosting West Indies in Karachi for a T20I series. There were some nerves because we hadn t played in our own country for a long time and we couldn t put up a good show in the first T20I.

“We sat as a group and discussed how importance it is to put up good performances to enhance the profile of women s cricket, which resulted in outstanding performances.

“The South Africa tour was a confidence booster for the whole side as we put up performances in both departments and tied a series there.

We hosted Bangladesh in Lahore and we did brilliantly in that series. Our year concluded with the England series in which we did not put up a good show. But, we have shown a lot of improvement in this series. And, that we are currently ranked fourth in ICC Women’s Championship is because of the hard work our team has put in.

“We play T20 World Cup next year and we are hopeful that we will be able to end in top four.”

Asmavia Iqbal, member national women’s selection committee, said: “There have been many positives both on and off the field in women s cricket this year. The PCB has undertaken many development programmes and the team has also shown marked improvement in performances.

“The zonal academies have started to function regularly because of which our girls are practicing round the clock. The girls now have separate facilities where they are getting nurtured under top coaches and undergo the training same as the Pakistan national women s team, which has enhance the skill-level of our up-and-coming cricketers. This was missing when I started off as a player.

“The PCB organised an U18 tournament and our emerging team recently featured in the Asia Cup. We have had domestic tournaments organised on regular basis this year. This has played a crucial role in developing game-awareness amongst girls. Many girls have made international debuts this year.”

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