COLOMBO - With plenty of energy and high hopes, the Pakistan women’s cricket team is ready for the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 in Colombo.

Pakistan captain Sana Mir said they knew the enormity of the task as well as its importance and that makes them more passionate and determined to do well in this event.

“If we do well, we not only qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 but also become part of the second edition of the ICC Women’s Championship, which will commence later this year. These are big incentives and will help our progress in the future,” she wrote on ICC website on Friday. “We approach the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 with a positive mindset, and within the unit there is a resolve to not only qualify for the bigger and mega event but also win the event.”

She admired that the women’s cricket has attained greater heights since it came under the ICC’s umbrella in 2005. “We all know that improvement in women’s game is more visible now and the profile of the game has been raised globally. The ICC Women’s World Twenty20 last year was very competitive, where we saw South Africa tie a game against Australia, we beat India and the West Indies emerged as champions. As a senior pro, I feel women’s game is heading in the right direction and the improvement will be rapid in the years to come.”

She said the format is very good, competitive and offers all sides equal opportunity. “I remember, we were part of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2009 which was played on the same format. The format allows all sides a good chance and that is an encouraging sign. The format also guarantees each side that will qualify for the pinnacle women’s event a minimum of six matches, which is extremely helpful and useful in preparations for the event proper to be staged in England and Wales from 24 June and 23 July. From our perspective, we are satisfied with our preparations as we were put into rigorous routines.”

As for the competition, the two groups are of five teams each. Pakistan is grouped with South Africa and Sri Lanka, both of whom Pakistan have beaten in the past. Pakistan also have a good record against Bangladesh and Scotland, while Papua New Guinea are only team Pakistan yet to face. Sana said the first task will be to qualify for the Super Six stages and South Africa face problems in Asian conditions so they will try to exploit that.

“Once we progress to the Super Sixes, we have a few bigger goals - the prime being to beat India and then go on to win the championship. We have not beaten India in a one-day, but last year’s ICC Women’s World Twenty20 win over them will surely inspire us this time. There is always a first time and when you aim positively, better results come. Reaching the ICC Women’s World Cup will be a great achievement. I led the team in the 2013 event, while I was Urooj Mumtaz’s deputy for the Sydney tournament in 2009.

The first one in 2009 was the first major event for most of us and we managed to beat Sri Lanka, while in the India event in 2013, we didn’t do well despite having a good squad. So, we need to improve significantly on that, come the 2017 event.”