The decision to accommodate the Pakistan women’s team at Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium owing to threats from India’s right-wing parties drew heavy criticism from several quarters but is not disturbing for captain Sana Mir’s side, according to team manager Ayesha Ashar.
The Orissa Cricket Association – which is playing host to group B matches at the Women’s World Cup – were forced to arrange accommodations inside the stadium premises after five-star hotels showed reluctance following warnings against the Pakistan team’s stay. However, all the other group teams are staying in hotels in Bhubaneswar.
Ayesha insisted Pakistan had no issues over their stay inside stadium premises.
“We have no problems. In fact, we are feeling more comfortable,” Ayesha told The Express Tribune from Cuttack. “The stadium’s academy where we have been accommodated is similar to the National Cricket Academy in Lahore which has all the facilities. All the facilities are close to us and the girls are happy and relaxed. We have not come here to stay in five-star hotels but to play which is our main focus.”
Ayesha also approved the security arrangements being made for her team’s stay.
“The security arrangements are tight and we are content with it. The security is agreeable to all the members of the team and is not disturbing at all. We are thankful to the International Cricket Council and local officials who are very supportive.”
Meanwhile, the manager added the team is yet to confront a protest by local political parties.
“We have not seen things which we heard before leaving. The people here are cordial to us. We are enjoying our stay and we are hopeful it will go on like that.”
Pakistan win warm-up match in style
Meanwhile, Pakistan thrashed Orissa XI by 95 runs in their first warm-up match ahead of their opening game against Australia.
Nain Abidi (73) and Bismah Maroof (76) were the key performers as Pakistan compiled 240 in 48.4 overs after electing to bat first.
Javeria Khan, who scored 33 and Qanita Jalil (25) were the other notable scorers.
Defending the target, the tourists displayed a combined bowling effort to restrict Orissa XI to 145 for eight in the allotted 50 overs.
Asmavia Iqbal was the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 20 from 10 overs while Sadia Yousuf and Sana took two wickets apiece.
“It was a collective performance,” said the manager. “The practice matches ahead of the event are of great value to us. We are looking for improvement in our next warm-up match.”
The team will play their next warm-up match today against the local team and will open their World Cup campaign against Australia on February 1.
Meanwhile, in other warm-up matches, Australia defeated India by five wickets at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
India, batting first accumulated 222 runs which was chased down by the Aussies, courtesy to half-century from Jodie Fields.
Elsewhere, Sri Lanka edged out South Africa by two wickets following a close contest while New Zealand overcame England by 13 runs in Mumbai. Danielle Hazell’s five-wicket haul was the highlight of the match but it wasn’t enough to give England the win.
“The security arrangements are tight and we are content with it. The security is agreeable to the whole team and is not disturbing at all. We have no problems. In fact, we are feeling more comfortable.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2013.