Pakistan skipper Sana keen to build on success of men’s team
DUBAI – Pakistani cricket is on a roll after victory in the ICC Champions Trophy – now the Pakistan women’s skipper Sana Mir wants her team to ride that wave of success at the ICC Women’s World Cup.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s team sprung a surprise earlier this month by beating India in the Champions Trophy final at The Oval, winning the title despite being the lowest ranked qualifier.
Sana’s side is in a similar position, qualifying through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in February, and currently ranked seventh in the world.
Having arrived in England at the start of June, the Pakistan team was in Leicester when the men’s final was taking place, and as Sana explains, its exploits have galvanised the country and inspired their female counterparts.
She said: “During the Pakistan innings (in the final) we were practising at Grace Road, and then before lunch we saw the last 10 overs of the Pakistan batting and we were super excited about the way they played.
“Then we watched the whole second innings and the bowling performance, it’s wonderful to see the men doing so well.
“It was something that was needed for the country, we’re such a sports loving country and we have been looking for a big win for a long time now so it’s amazing and the people are very happy.
“The support this time is huge and people are following women’s cricket back home so if we can cause a couple of upsets in our campaign and improve our ranking, it would be great news for our cricket and for Pakistanis.”
Now 31, Sana has been Pakistan captain since 2009, so brings plenty of experience to the tournament.
And as Pakistan looks to record its best-ever performance at a World Cup, she admits that coping with the pressure will be crucial – with the opening game against South Africa in Leicester on Sunday.
She added: “It’s more of a mental thing now, it’s about nerves and keeping your cool under pressure.
“Those are the areas, especially, that I have been working on as a captain, because when this pressure builds up in a huge tournament and the opposition can intimidate you at times, so if you can hold your nerve at that time you can turn the tables.
“It’s been pretty good preparation so far. We’ve been here since 2 June and we’ve played some practice matches and the quality of cricket we have played is improving every day so I’m very happy with the way the team is progressing.
“We haven’t played a semi-final of a big tournament as yet so that would be an amazing thing to achieve at this point. At the moment we are at the bottom of the table so to get into the top four or five teams, that’s something we are looking to do in round one.
“I think the strength in the bowling line-up is quite good and the batting is catching up a bit. Now it’s a balance between the two. The day we pull it off in both departments, that is when we can upset any team.” –Courtesy ICC