By Sohail Ali
LAHORE, Dec 14 (APP): Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Monday that Pak women’s national cricket team will tour South Africa for three ODIs and three T20Is, which will be played in Durban and Pietermaritzburg from 20 January to 3 February.
In consultation and discussions with Cricket South Africa, the series has been finalised to ensure women’s cricket continues to build on the momentum and successes following the trailblazing ICC Women’s Championship 2017-2020, ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 and the ICC Women’s T20 World Cups 2018 and 2020.
This additional series has also been organised to help both Pakistan and South Africa prepare for the upcoming assignments, in particular Pakistan, who will feature in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in July 2021 for the event proper to be held in New Zealand in early 2022.
South Africa, along with world champions England, Australia, India and hosts New Zealand, have already qualified for the World Cup after securing top positions in the ICC Women’s Championship 2017-20.
The series will start and finish in Durban with the first ODI on 20 January and the third T20I on 3 February. Both matches will be played under lights. Durban will also stage the second ODI on 23 January before action will move to Pietermaritzburg where the third ODI and opening two T20Is will be played on 26, 29 and 31 January, respectively.
To prepare and select the best available side and in continuation to the Women’s High Performance Camp and the National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship, the women’s national selection committee has invited 27 women cricketers for a training and preparation camp, which will be held at the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre in Karachi from 20 December.
From the start of the training camp until the side’s departure for Durban on 11 January, the women cricketers will remain and train in a bio-secure environment, besides undergoing routine testing in line with the PCB Covid-19 Protocols.
Prior to joining the camp, each cricketer will require a negative test and another negative test after reporting for the camp before being allowed to integrate with other members of the group.
The tour to South Africa will also be the first official assignment of head coach David Hemp and bowling coach Arshad Khan. While Hemp joined forces in October, Arshad was appointed in November. Mohammad Kamran Hussain will be the assistant coach at the training camp.
This will be Pakistan women’s side’s second tour to South Africa within 18 months. In May 2019, Pakistan and South Africa featured in one of the most thrilling, keenly contested and exciting women’s series to date.
The three ICC Women’s Championship ODIs ended in a 1-1 draw when the 12 May third ODI ended in a tie after Nashra Sandhu scored seven runs off the final two deliveries to help Pakistan reach 265 for nine in 50 overs. In the five-match T20I series, Pakistan took a 2-1 lead before South Africa bounced back to clinch the series 3-2.
Women’s chief selector and head of the women’s cricket, Urooj Mumtaz here : “It is critical for women’s cricket that we continue to invest in the game in these difficult times, otherwise all the efforts and hard work that have gone recently in building the profile, enhancing the standard and generating fan interest and following will be wasted.
“I am delighted that Cricket South Africa have agreed to host us for a full tour despite having already qualified for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022. This is yet another indicator and reflection of our relationship with the Member boards who are willing to help and support each other in any possible way.
“The PCB created activities and held a domestic event for the women cricketers to attract and inspire them to remain connected with the game during these challenging times, but nothing can replace international cricket. In this background, it is great that our women cricketers will reap the benefits of their loyalty and commitment to the game by getting an opportunity to play international cricket against a quality side.
“South Africa are ranked above us, both in the ODI and T20I formats and, as such, I am sure this series will go a long way in not only assisting us to further improve our standards but also prepare for June’s ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2021 as we aim to finish in the top three and progress to event proper in early 2022 in New Zealand.”
27 probables for the South Africa tour are (18-player squad expected to be announced on Thursday, 31 December 2020 at the National Stadium press conference room early afternoon):
Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Bismah Maroof, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana Khan, Iram Javed, Javeria Khan, Javeria Rauf, Kainat Imtiaz, Kaynat Hafeez, Maham Tariq, Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Najiha Alvi, Nashra Sandhu, Natalia Pervaiz, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Rameen Shamim, Saba Nazir, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz and Syeda Aroob Shah
11 Jan – Departure for Durban
13-19 Jan – Training, practice and intra-squad matches, Durban
20 Jan – 1st ODI (d/n), Kingsmead Stadium, Durban
23 Jan – 2nd ODI (d), Kingsmead Stadium, Durban
26 Jan – 3rd ODI (d), Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg
29 Jan – 1st T20I (d), Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg
31 Jan – 2nd T20I (d), Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg
3 Feb – 3rd T20I (d/n), Kingsmead Stadium, Durban.