LAHORE-Pakistan national women team’s chief selector Saleem Jaffar on Friday announced a 15-player squad for next month’s bilateral white-ball series against South Africa. The series consists of three T20Is and three ODIs, with the ODIs being part of the ICC Women’s Championship 2022-25.
18-year-old Shawaal Zulfiqar, who has also been included in Pakistan’s squad for next month’s Asian Games, has been picked for the three T20Is scheduled to take place at the National Bank Stadium in Karachi from 1 to 5 September. 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 makes a comeback and is placed in both squads after recovering from a finger injury that kept her out from the game for more than six months. She sustained finger injury in the third One-Day International against Australia in January this year.
The side will be captained by experienced all-rounder Nida Dar, who will lead the side after taking over from Bismah Maroof, who stepped down from captaincy after the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in February this year. The squads were finalised after deliberations amongst the women’s selection committee led by Saleem Jaffar and captain Nida Dar.
Leg-spinner Syeda Aroob Shah, who last featured for Pakistan in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020, stages a comeback in the T20I side after more than three years. 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.
Meanwhile, Aimen Anwar, Javeria Khan, Ayesha Naseem (retired from international cricket), Sidra Nawaz and Tuba Hassan are the players 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.
Chief selector Saleem Jaffar said: “After careful consideration, we have decided to bring Syeda Aroob Shah and Natalia Parvaiz back into the fold in the T20I format. Their recent performances and improved fitness have been remarkable, and we believe they will bring a new dimension to the team. “Umm-e-Hani’s inclusion in both squads is based on her exceptional off-spin abilities. With the pitches in Karachi favoring 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. These two fast bowlers have proven themselves to be pivotal in ODI cricket, especially considering the use of two new balls,” he added.