Bismah Maroof in action for Pakistan. ©ICC

Bismah Maroof, Pakistan captain, will lead the 13-member ICC Women’s Global Development Squad (WGDS) on their upcoming tour of Australia where they will play against Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) teams and also train with the franchises for their first-round matches. She will be joined by New Zealand international, Hannah Rowe, as the second player from a ‘Top 8’ team in the squad.

The 28-year-old, who has represented her country in over 200 international matches will bring a great deal of experience to a team comprising players from eight countries. The tour consists of six T20 matches to be played against teams from Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmania between October 9 to 14.

“It’s an honour to be leading this side,” said Maroof, following the announcement on Thursday (October 3). “This is an excellent platform provided by the ICC for players of different sides. As a captain, I will try my level best to share my experiences on and off the field. There will be girls from different cultures and it will be a new challenge for me.”

“I have led my country, where I know all the players, but this will be new experience. It is an important platform, where we will play against star players of the Big Bash. My own game will also develop in a new environment and I will be able to help the Pakistan team in future.”

This is the fourth such exposure tour being organised by the ICC with two previously having taken place in England— in July 2018 and 2019— and one in Australia— November 2018. The matches serve as an opportunity for players outside the top teams to rub shoulders with each other, learn from experienced internationals and also get some much needed exposure to high intensity cricket.

The WGDS itself consists of three players from Thailand, two each from Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Bangladesh, and one each from Ireland, and Indonesia.

Sornnarin Tippoch, Thailand captain, Suleeporn Laomi, the leg-spinner, and Naruemol Chaiwai, the opening batter, are Thailand’s representatives. This tour presents them with a wonderful opportunity to experience the conditions they will face when they travel to Australia for the T20 World Cup next year.

“It’s a great opportunity and experience for me to be a part of the WGDS squad,” Tippoch said. “I’m in a position to learn and challenge myself in a different environment and I’m also excited being able to play with other talented cricketers. I hope this programme will help my game so I will be able to share my experiences with my Thai team.”

Katie McGill, Lara Maritz, and Rowe form the pace contingent, Sarah Bryce and Nigar Sultana are the two wicket-keepers in the squad, while Kaia Arua and Rumana Ahmed complete the spin group.

Holly Colvin, ICC Women’s Cricket Manager, said the tour would play a vital role in improving the standard of cricket in the participating countries. With the growing popularity of the women’s game, this is key, Colvin said.

“The women’s game has caught the imagination of fans in recent years and it is important that we provide opportunities for players and coaches outside of the leading teams to learn from world-class players and test themselves against the best. The WGDS is a great way to develop this talent pool and we are really looking forward to more such initiatives.”

Squad: Bismah Maroof (captain, Pakistan), Rumana Ahmed, Nigar Sultana Joty (Bangladesh), Ni Made Putri Suwandewi (Indonesia), Lara Martiz (Ireland), Hannah Rowe (New Zealand), Kaia Arua, Tanya Ruma (Papua New Guinea), Katie McGill, Sarah Bryce (Scotland), Sornnarin Tippoch, Suleeporn Laomi, Naruemol Chaiwai (Thailand), Sean Trouw (Head Coach – Netherlands), Peter Ross (Assistant Coach – Scotland)

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