GUANGZHOU: Pakistan's women cricketers have cruised into the Asian Games semi-finals determined to deflect attention away from lurid tales of corruption which have engulfed their men's team.
Pakistan, Asia's top-ranked side, have reached the last four courtesy of an eight-wicket win over Thailand and nine-wicket rout of hosts China and are set to be one of their country's best hopes of a gold medal.
"We never get this kind of media attention at home. I am just so glad the sport made it to the Asian Games," said Pakistan skipper Sana Mir.
"There is always TV coverage when the men's team plays in Pakistan because it is huge, but you never see us playing on the big screen."
Although there are around 600 women players in Pakistan under the age of 19 and around 1,200 seniors, earnings are meagre.
"It's the love of the sport which keep us going," Pakistan team manager Ayesha Ashhar told China Daily newspaper.
"We would like to be treated and rewarded just like the men's team."
Mir admits that in a rigidly conservative country like Pakistan, many women face restrictions on when and where they can play, but 26-year-old Mir is relieved that she faced no such problems.
"I have to thank my parents and brother for their support, otherwise I could not have made it this far," said the captain.