As India’s right-wing political parties gear up to accelerate their protests over Pakistan’s participation at the Women’s World Cup, captain Sana Mir has declared her side is ready to face all odds and challenges.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was forced to move Pakistan team’s matches from Mumbai due to strong opposition from Shiv Sena amidst their protests over cross-border tensions.
However, the possible resistance and protests are hardly a concern for the women’s team that will wrap-up its 10-day training camp today in Muridke with a practice match against a local side.
According to the captain, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) One-Day International (ODI) rule changes are the only worry for her side ahead of the World Cup.
“We are pondering how to tackle with the rule changes,” Sana told The Express Tribune on the eve of the last day of their training camp. “We have not played an ODI since the rule changes were implemented in October last year. This is our only concern otherwise we are completely ready for the tournament. As far as reports of security threats are concerned, we are not even looking at such reports and are focusing solely on the tournament. Our job as cricketers is just to play for our country; security issues would be dealt by the ICC and the Indian board.”
Speaking on preparations, the senior all-rounder said although the training camp was affected by rain, her team was well prepared.
“We had a good number of practice matches and received guidance from all coaches, including senior ones.”
Sana – who received the Pakistan Cricket Board’s women cricketer of the year award – said she was aiming to lead from the front.
“I know my performance is crucial and I am looking to play my leading role.”
Claiming title is our ultimate aim: coach
Meanwhile, team coach Mohtashim Rasheed said the girls were highly motivated ahead of the tournament.
“This team is ascending and is high on confidence,” said Rasheed. “We will look to win every match. Claiming the title is our ultimate aim.”
The coach said the team is ready for the tournament with best possible preparations in the training camp.
“They underwent extensive training despite rain. Pakistan head coach Dav Whatmore and fielding coach Julien Fountain also gave valuable tips. Lectures with [psychologist] Maqbool Babri were also very beneficial. The inclusion of Basit Ali as batting consultant is a big advantage as our batters will gain a lot in his presence. In short, I can say we are absolutely ready for the World Cup.”
Pakistan are scheduled to depart tomorrow and as per the revised schedule and will play their first Group B match against Australia on February 1 in Tangi near Cuttack. New Zealand and South Africa are the other teams in the group.
“We have not played a One-Day International since the rule changes were implemented in October last year. This is our only concern otherwise we are completely ready for the tournament.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2013.
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