Captain Javeria Khan ready for “new experience” in upcoming tours
For the women in green, a busy few months lie ahead. First, they play against Bangladesh. Then, they face off against Australia before heading to the Caribbean for the World Twenty-20. As preparation, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) set up a camp at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
Javeria Khan, who bats for Pakistan at number three, has been one of her teams most consistent players. Her fate to play for Pakistan seemed to be written in the stars. Narrating her story, Khan told Women’s CricZone, “I had an Economics class that I didn’t want to attend at the time of the tryouts so; I went to them instead. I used to play with my brothers, but I wasn’t very passionate about the game. From the tryouts, I was selected to play in the domestic team. There, I emerged as the best player and that is when my passion for the game started to grow. I went on to play Regionals, and got called-up for the national team.” In short, bunking an Economics class led to Khan earning a spot in the national team and eventually becoming the highest ranked batter in the Pakistani squad. Remarkable.
Apart from the aforementioned achievements, another feather Khan will be adding to her hat soon is that of captaincy. Regular skipper Bismah Maroof has been ruled out of the upcoming tour of Bangladesh after undergoing surgery and Khan will be stepping in her place. On her new role, Khan commented, “It is a new experience for me.” She further divulged how she tried to “learn as much as she could” from Maroof and added how fortunate it was that former captain Sana Mir would be on the tour to guide her as well. Khan also praised the squad’s coaches, who make “captaincy seem easier because they help the players define their roles in the team.”
Following their disappointing World Cup campaign, PCB completely revamped the team’s management, appointing New Zealand’s Mark Coles as the Head Coach and signing Australia’s Andy Richards’ as a batting consultant. When asked how these changes have helped the squad, Khan answered, “Because of them, the burden on us has been reduced. They define our roles well. For instance, when I am batting, I do not need to worry about anything else because they can handle that domain themselves. What is admirable about them is that even in the negative, they will talk about the positive first.” She also credited them for “maintaining a calm atmosphere” in the group, going on to say “they have created a completely new environment.”
Khan seemed confident in her team’s preparation and when questioned about how the team plans to keep up their energy for the three strenuous upcoming tours, she replied, “I don’t think that’s something we need to worry about. The coaches already have the long duration of the tours in mind. They, therefore, plan our sessions accordingly, focusing more on quality than quantity and are very professional in that aspect.”
According to Khan, the main area her team needs improvement in, is mental toughness. “It’s just here,” she says, pointing at her head. “If we try and build our mental toughness, I am sure the results will be in our favour.” This she further elaborated through examples saying, often times they have “caught up to the big teams” but, faltered when it mattered most. She went on to stress upon the contribution of all players in the squad. “I believe everyone’s contribution is very important and that is the good thing about our management; to them, everyone is equal and knows their value,” she spoke.
The interview concluded with Khan giving a message to the teams’ fans. Smiling, she said, “I would like to say that pray for the women’s team, like you do for the men. Many times we win matches due to those prayers. If we’re winning, support us and if we’re losing, stand by us because, when winning, the morale in the team is high, they are confident and motivated. But, if you are with us even in our failure, we can overcome it quicker and bounce back.”