West Indies tour is an opportunity for us to leave a mark: Javeria Khan
Pakistan have favourable memories of their last encounters with West Indies.
LAHORE (Dunya News) – Pakistan national women’s cricket team’s third tour of the year will commence tomorrow, Wednesday when they play West Indies in the first of the three T20Is at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.
They have made trips of the Caribbean islands for three ODI series, two T20I series and two ICC Women’s T20 World Cups in the past but the first T20I will see them play on Antiguan soil for the first time.
There is not much of a difference between the two sides on the ICC’s rankings for Women’s T20I teams as Pakistan are placed seventh and their opponents are sixth. Javeria Khan, the captain of the national women’s team, is optimistic that the hard yards her players put in during the preparation for this tour will bear fruit.
“The women’s game has suffered a great deal in the post-pandemic world,” Javeria, Pakistan’s second most successful batter in the format with 1,882 runs, said Tuesday on the eve of the match. “But this tour is another great initiative from the Pakistan Cricket Board to keep the women’s game relevant in the country and keep the players involved.
“We come in this series after undergoing intense training camps in Multan and Karachi. Those camps were extremely important for all the players. Because of the lockdowns in different parts of the country, the sports activities had come to a complete halt. The camps provided a great opportunity for the cricketers to practice in hard and tough environment, in accordance with the demand of international cricket.
“West Indies are a quality opposition and they will be eager to do well at home. We, however, see this as an opportunity to do well and leave a mark. This team has got the potential to do it. Each and every player has worked hard to get here and come the day, I remain optimistic that they will rise to the challenge.”
Pakistan have favourable memories of their last encounters with West Indies. They came back from behind in February 2019 to beat them 2-1 in ODIs in the ICC Women’s Championship in what was their first-ever ODI series win over them. In their most recent T20I encounter in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, they secured an easy eight-wicket win.
Javeria said, “As athletes we do take inspiration from our past achievements, but every day brings new sets of challenges and we – both collectively and at individually – should be ready to surmount them.”
What further add to the significance of this tour is the fact that for the first time in the history of Pakistan women’s cricket, an ‘A’ team is accompanying the national side. The ‘A’ side will play their West Indian counterparts in three T20s – which will precede the T20Is – and three one-day matches. Sidra Nawaz, who boasts an experience of 52 T20I matches, will lead the ‘A’ team in T20s.
The team management will be selecting squads ahead of each match for the national and ‘A’ teams from the squad of 26. Javeria is hopeful that the players who have remained at the fringes of the national side will make the most of the six matches.
“That the ‘A’ team is also touring with us is a great sign for the growth and development of the women’s game in the country and it promises to put our sport in a healthy position. It had been a while since our upcoming cricketers had played competitive international cricket. This will be the first time they will be in action in the post-pandemic world.
“My message to the youngsters is to go out there and express themselves. Enjoy the moments, look for opportunities, and grab them with both hands since good performances potentially will be rewarded with berths in the national side on the tour.”
The T20I series between the two national teams will be followed by five ODIs.
Pakistan squad for the tour:
Javeria Khan (captain, national team), Rameen Shamim (One-Day captain, ‘A’ team), Sidra Nawaz (T20 captain, A team), Aliya Riaz, Aiman Anwar, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Iram Javed, Jaweria Rauf, Kainat Imtiaz, Kaynat Hafeez, Maham Tariq, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui (wk), Nahida Khan, Najiha Alvi (wk), Nashra Sundhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Saba Nazir, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, and Syeda Aroob Shah.