KARACHI: The three ODIs and two T20Is hosted by Pakistan against Zimbabwe in Lahore earlier in the year signalled the revival of international cricket in the country, and the game is set for a similar return as Bangladesh’s clash with the hosts in the first-ever T20I in the nation at the Southend Cricket Club in Karachi on Wednesday.
The Bangladesh women’s cricket team will play two T20Is and two ODI’s in their 10-day tour of Pakistan, with the last international taking place nearly a decade ago in January 2006.
Pakistan captain Sana Mir feels that the hosts have a good combination of players but cannot afford to be complacent. “We have played against Bangladesh several times before and they have proven to be tough opponents; we cannot take them lightly.”
The 29-year-old admitted that the players are looking forward to performing in front of the home fans. “Performing in front of our people will be exciting but there will be some pressure too,” she said, adding that a series win will provide confidence ahead of the West Indies tour which is scheduled to begin on October 16.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh captain Salma Khatun said that their players are happy with the arrangements so far. “We have received a warm welcome from the people here and the security is really good. We hope to see good cricket against a strong team,” Salma told The Express Tribune. “Pakistan are a strong side and playing against them on their home ground will be tough. However, our players are in form and will give our best to win as this series can play an important role in helping us qualify for the World Cup.”
Bangladesh team manager Shafiqul Haq said the visitors are pinning high hopes on Salma, the top-ranked all-rounder in women’s cricket, and believe that the skipper can lead from the front when the two sides take to the field.
Home debuts excite girls
The entire Pakistan squad, with the exception of Sana Mir and Asamvia Iqbal, will be playing an international match in Pakistan for the first time.
The excitement surrounding the first T20I, therefore, is understandably high. “The advantage of playing an international at home is that we are used to the conditions here,” said batsman Javeria Wadood. “I also hope that we get as much love and respect as the men’s team gets from the crowd.”
Vice-captain Bismah Maroof also felt the home series will boost morale
regardless of the results. “Our parents will be here watching us play live for the first time, which will surely increase our confidence,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2015.