Bismah Maroof eyes return to international cricket after maternity leave

Bismah Maroof eyes return to international cricket after maternity leave
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced that Bismah Maroof will be available for the selection for ICC Women’s World Cup 2022. The 30-year-old has already resumed the fitness sessions ahead of the warm-up matches to be held in Karachi for the selection of the World Cup squad. Meanwhile, PCB has also announced Asmavia Iqbal as the new head of the Women’s Selection Committee.

Maroof last played international cricket when she led Pakistan during the T20 World Cup in March 2020 in Australia. She announced her maternity in April 2021 and gave birth to a baby girl in August 2021. PCB brought in the maternity clause in their Central Contracts after Maroof announced her pregnancy, with Maroof becoming the first beneficiary of it.

According to PCB, the left-handed batter has already been re-integrated into cricketing activities. She expected to begin the net sessions soon. Maroof expressed her gratitude towards PCB’s Parental Support Policy and said, “the maternity leave helped me realise the significance of navigating the balance of raising a child and maintaining my professional cricketing career as I missed being on the field each time I saw the girls in action.”

“But thanks to the PCB Parental Support Policy, which has greatly facilitated my return to cricket, I can now resume my ambitions and aspirations of playing for Pakistan and hope to make a useful contribution in our target of doing well in New Zealand,” she added. If selected Maroof will be accompanied by her dependent child and one support person of her choice during the World Cup.

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Before departing for the World Cup, 36 potential players will be divided into two squads and will be joined by the local boys’ team in a seven-match tri-series at the Hanif Mohammad High-Performance Centre from 10-19 January 2022. Pakistan will name their World Cup squad on 25 January 2022.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan international Iqbal will replace Urooj Mumtaz Khan as the new head of the Women’s Selection Committee. PCB appointed Khan as the head of the selection panel in March 2019. She has decided to step down to focus on her professional commitments and to pursue other opportunities within the game.

PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja thanked Khan for her work. “I want to thank Urooj Mumtaz for her contributions as Chair of the Pakistan Women’s Selection Committee. You worked diligently in your role, for which the PCB is grateful and indebted. We wish you the best for your future endeavors,” he said.

Potential players for practice matches:

Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Anoosha Nasir, Ayesha Bilal, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Nahida Khan, Bismah Maroof, Diana Baig, Fareeha Mehmood, Fatima Sana Khan, Ghulam Fatima (subject to fitness), Gull Feroza, Iram Javed, Javeria Rauf, Javeria Khan, Kainat Hafeez, Kainat Imtiaz (subject to fitness), Maham Tariq, Muneeba Ali, Najiha Alvi, Nashra Sandhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Ramin Shameem, Saba Nazir, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Saima Malik, Sidra Ameen, Sidra Nawaz, Syeda Aroob Shah, Tuba Hassan, and Umm-e-Hani