PCB announces squad for South Africa white-ball series

Members of the Pakistan women’s cricket team. — Twitter/@TheRealPCB

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has unveiled a 15-member squad for the upcoming bilateral white-ball series against South Africa next month in Pakistan.

Nida Dar will spearhead the team as its captain, as per an official statement with the series against the Proteas women encompassing three Twenty20 Internationals and three One-Day Internationals, with the latter constituting a segment of the ICC Women’s Championship for the period 2022-2025.

In a squad announcement, Saleem Jaffar, the chief selector of the national women’s team, highlighted the inclusion of Syeda Aroob Shah and Natalia Parvaiz in the T20I format. He lauded their recent performances and improved fitness.

“We believe they will bring a new dimension to the team,” he said.

He added that Umm-e-Hani’s inclusion in both squads is based on her exceptional off-spin abilities. “With the pitches in Karachi favouring spinners, we are confident that she will play a crucial role in our bowling attack.”

“To bolster our fast-bowling department, we have selected Waheeda Akhter in the ODI squad. With Diana Baig and Fatima Sana leading our pace attack, it’s essential to have cover for them,” he added.

Jaffar said that the two fast bowlers have proven themselves to be pivotal in ODI cricket, especially considering the use of two new balls.

The selection committee has picked the 18-year-old Shawaal Zulfiqar — who has also been included in Pakistan’s squad for next month’s Asian Games — for the three T20Is scheduled to take place at the National Bank Stadium in Karachi from September 1 to 5. The T20I series will be followed by three ODIs taking place at the same venue on 8, 11 and 14 September.

Right-arm fast bowler Diana Baig will also make a comeback. She has been placed in both squads after recovering from a finger injury that kept her out from the game for more than six months. Baig sustained a finger injury in the third ODI against Australia in January this year.

Leg-spinner Syeda Aroob Shah, who last featured for Pakistan in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020, is also returning to the T20I side after more than three years. Meanwhile, all-rounder Natalia Parvaiz, who last turned out for Pakistan in 2018, is back in the T20I side and is also kept as a reserve player in ODI squad.

Uncapped wicketkeeper-batter Najiha Alvi is also a member of the 15-player T20I squad. Off-spinner Umm-e-Hani, who has featured in one ODI is also part of the T20I squad.

Aimen Anwar, Javeria Khan, Ayesha Naseem (retired from international cricket), Sidra Nawaz and Tuba Hassan have been left out from the last T20I squad that played the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. Omaima Sohail is part of the reserves in the shortest format.

In the ODI squad, Umm-e-Hani and Waheeda Akhtar have been selected in place of Ayesha Naseem and Kainat Imtiaz from the tour of Australia earlier this year.

Pakistan women’s team is placed fourth in the ICC Women’s Championship 2022-25 points table, winning five matches from nine outings.

This will be Pakistan’s third home series in the ICC Women’s Championship, after they hosted Sri Lanka (2-1) and Ireland (3-0) last year in Karachi and Lahore, respectively.

South Africa, who are embarking on their first-ever tour of Pakistan, will reach Karachi on August 27. They are currently placed on the ninth spot in the ICC Women’s Championship, after playing just one series in the championship and winning all their three matches against Ireland held in June 2022.

The team management and schedule of Pakistan team’s training camp will be announced in due course, PCB statement read.

T20I squad

Nida Dar (c), Aliya Riaz, Bismah Maroof, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Muneeba Ali, Najiha Alvi (wk), Nashra Sundhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Shawaal Zulfiqar, Sidra Amin, Syeda Aroob Shah and Umm-e-Hani

Reserves: Anoosha Nasir, Omaima Sohail and Waheeda Akhtar

ODI squad

Nida Dar (c), Aliya Riaz, Bismah Maroof, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Muneeba Ali, Nashra Sundhu, Omaima Sohail, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz (wk), Umm-e-Hani and Waheeda Akhtar

Reserves: Najiha Alvi, Natalia Parvaiz and Tuba Hassan

Series schedule vs South Africa (all matches at National Bank Stadium, Karachi)

27 Aug – South Africa team arrival

1 Sep – First T20I v South Africa

3 Sep – Second T20I v South Africa

5 Sep – Third T20I v South Africa

8 Sep – First ODI v South Africa

11 Sep – Second ODI v South Africa

14 Sep – Third ODI v South Africa

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