ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) women team chief selector M Ilyas hinted at appointing foreign coach for Pakistan women cricket team and also informed about starting fitness test of female players in a couple of days for the New Zealand series.

Talking to The Nation, Ilyas said: “It is PCB’s decision to hire services of foreign coach, which clearly indicates that the board is taking women cricket seriously. Most likely a New Zealander would be next Pakistan women team coach.”

He also confirmed that they had invited Sana Mir for the camp along with other players. He hinted at providing opportunities to fresh blood, who performed well in England and hoped with the passage of time, experience and top class training, Pakistani players and team would be the one of the world’s best teams.”

Ilyas said after fitness tests in Lahore, a training camp would be establish at Muridke and around 28 females would attend it. “Although Pakistani team couldn’t win in England, but I feel they played well. It was only due to lack of international exposure and tremendous pressure, which majority of players couldn’t handle, led to the team’s failure to win even a single match. I feel we have golden chances of winning at least 4 to 5 group matches.

Anyhow, it is history now. Our main focus is to prepare fresh team based on experienced and fresh players, as young blood is highly important to keep pace with top teams of the world. We have talent but there is a need to groom it properly by providing the best facilities.

“The only thing we lack is exposure and modern-day training. Our females lack fitness, which holds key in any team’s success. After Najam Sethi taking over as PCB chairman, things will certainly move in right direction, as he is gradually transforming the fortunes of male team, and now same will happen to women team,” he added.

He lauded Najam Sethi, armed forces and federal and provincial government for providing the foolproof security to World XI team and hosting them in a trending setting manner. Although it is a small step towards full-fledge restoration on international cricket in Pakistan, yet at least now doors are open.

“Fresh air starts coming and world has new belief in Pakistan. I would also say a big thank to the ICC, as they are keenly involved in helping us in resorting international cricket while Andy Flower and each and every member of World XI team also deserve the same credit, respect and honour, who helped Pakistan cricket in the right time.

The women chief selector said that the way Pakistan cricket team won the Champions Trophy against all the odds and hammered Indians was remarkable. “Indians, who consider themselves as unbeatable, were badly exposed after being bamboozled by Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final. They must understand that without Pakistan, cricket means nothing.”

He also gave credit to former chairman domestic committee Shakil Shakih for introducing positive changes and plans, which really helped in grooming youngsters and played active role during the PSL. “A number of players were found through domestic circuit and it would have not been possible, had Shakil not taken so much pain and worked tirelessly.

“It is very easy to point fingers at others, but it is very hard to appreciate good work. Now he is not chairman domestic committee, but results of his efforts will continue to benefit the PCB and youngsters. I feel he should be given some important role so that Pakistan cricket may get more benefits from his wide experience, which will further improve Pakistan cricket,” Ilyas concluded.