Bismah returns as Pakistan women captain for World Cup

LAHORE – Bismah Maroof will lead the national side in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand as the national women’s selection committee announced the squad for the tournament to be played from March 4 till April 3. 
The event will mark Bismah’s return to international cricket after two years as she took break from the game for the birth of her first child in December 2020. She will be accompanied by a support person, as part of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s parental policy, to help her look after the newborn, while keeping her focus on cricket. 
Asmavia Iqbal-led selection committee that includes Saleem Jaffar and Taufeeq Umar has called up leg-spinner Ghulam Fatima, who last played for Pakistan in 2018, and opener Nahida Khan, whose last outing in Pakistan colours was last January, after impressive performances in practice matches during the recent Karachi camp. Experienced all-rounder Nida Dar has been appointed as the vice-captain for the World Cup. Batter Iram Javed, all-rounder Tuba Hassan and wicketkeeper Najiha Alvi are the travelling reserves.  
Chair of women’s national selection committee Asmavia Iqbal on Monday said: “I want to congratulate every player, who made it to the squad for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. We considered the conditions and challenges our team will encounter in New Zealand along with the current form of players and the team’s balance while putting together this squad. 
“While we have retained majority of the players who have been on the national duty recently, we have called back Nahida Khan and Ghulam Fatima. Nahida brings with her experience that every team seeks going into a World Cup and Fatima has had an incredible run in Karachi. She has done well to enhance her fitness and has been in good form in domestic cricket of late. “Tough luck to those who missed out. I hope they will continue to work hard on their skills and fitness and push their cases for national return with strong performances.” 
Bismah Maroof said: “It is a great honour for me to lead my country into another World Cup. I am thrilled to be back in action and do what I love and have dedicated my life to. “The recent selection matches proved to be fruitful for me and the whole side as we got some match practice under competitive and challenging environment leading into the mega event. The aim is to reach the World Cup semifinals and I believe this team has the potential to pull it off.” 
Kainat Imtiaz and Sadia Iqbal who were part of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier squad miss out on selections because of injuries. The Pakistan squad will begin the final phase of their preparations with a 10-day pre-departure camp in Karachi from January 27. They will depart for New Zealand on February 8. 

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