LAHORE     -    Pakistan women cricket team captain Bismah Maroof has said that the Bangladesh women team tour is a step forward in the full resumption of international cricket in the country.

Speaking at the trophy unveiling ceremony of Pak-Bangladesh series along with touring captain Salma Khatun, here at Gaddafi Stadium on Thursday, Bismah said: “We are thankful to Bangladesh team for their tour to Pakistan to play three T20s and two ODIs and definitely this tour will supplement the ongoing efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for bringing international cricket in the country.”

The home captain promised exciting series and described Bangladesh as ‘tough opponents’. “We look forward to thrilling and entertaining cricket during the matches and we are confident that Pakistan team will excel in all departments of the game to aim for success,” she added.

Replying to a query, she said that Pakistan women cricket team’s main strength has always been its bowlers - both pace and spin attack - and called upon the fellow colleagues to demonstrate all-round performance to outsmart the visiting side. “It is not fair to depend or have reliance on one department. Out batters should also perform to share the burden as in today’s competitive cricket, every player in the team needs to perform to a higher level to enhance team’s performance.”

Pakistan will be missing the experience and valuable services of ace all-rounder Sana Mir and Nida Dar. Sana is currently on a visit of America to receive the Asia Game Changer award, which is a big honour not only for her but also for the country. Nida is currently taking part in the ongoing Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia.

“Definitely, they are the experienced players and their absence will make a big difference but we will be working hard to fill the void,” she added. Sana is expected to join the team on October 26. Regarding Nida’s participation in the Big Bash League in Australia, she said representing the country should be the top priority for any player but it was PCB’s decision to allow her to play in the league.

Bismah said she is excited to play at home ground in front of home crowd as international cricket returns to Pakistan after a long gap. “Every player is eager to demonstrate best of her ability and all the players are passionate to put up good performance in their own arena,” she said.

Pakistan captain said the former foreign coach of the team, Mark Coles, helped a lot in improving team’s performance and was a great source of learning for the players.

Bangladesh captain Salma Khatun said they look to a tough and thrilling series. She expressed her gratitude to the PCB for inviting them to tour Pakistan. “I have good experience and memories of playing in Pakistan as earlier we played at Karachi, which was a pleasant experience.”

She expressed the hope that this tour will add to the experience and confidence of her side. “Pakistan is a superior side in view of their international ranking and definitely, the home side will be going all-out against us and they will be a tough opponent to beat in their own backyard. We will be playing good cricket regardless of results.” The Bangladesh captain said her side has good batters and bowlers, who are full of fighting spirit to beat Pakistan.

The opening clash of the three-match T20I series will be played on Saturday, with the subsequent to games set to be staged on October 28 and 30 respectively.