Pakistan players celebrate a wicket. © ICC

Pakistan women players have expressed happiness and delight on being provided with an opportunity to speak with Wasim Akram and Babar Azam. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had arranged online sessions in which the duo shared their experiences of handling the pressure and approaching games in different conditions.

The pair also gave insights into the finer details of the game and tips to improve the bowling and batting. Akram and Azam also stressed on the need to keep fitness levels up to the mark, while also highlighting on temperament and patience needed to succeed at the international level.

“It is very important that the players continue to use this time for their development and learn how they can approach the game in an effective manner when normalcy returns,” said Bismah Maroof, Pakistan’s captain.

“These sessions are a great step in that direction and every player learnt a great deal from them. Wasim Akram, who is one of the greatest players this nation has produced, provided an insight in what made him such a great player and his session was a great inspiration for me and the team to work harder than before. Listening to him about how he led Pakistan in different situations and in pressure was really helpful. It was also wonderful to hear Babar Azam, who continues to impress the world with his pure skill, on how he prepares for a match and approaches different situations.”

Aiman Anwar, the seamer, was also glad she got to speak with Akram, easily one of the great of the sport.

“He provided some invaluable tips about T20 bowling and told us about the art of reading a batter’s mind,” she said. “He shared the experiences of his playing days which will help me grow as a player. I am hopeful my interaction with him will help me emerge as a successful bowler.”

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Diana Baig has been one of Pakistan’s reliable swing bowlers, be it at the start or towards the close of the innings.

“The session with Wasim Akram was very inspirational,” she said about interacting with Akram, who was known to possess a lethal reverse-swinging skill in his repertoire, apart from the conventional swing.

“He spoke about how to use different variations in bowling. He shared how he handled pressure and how to maintain fitness as a fast bowler, which will help me a great deal.”

Young opener Muneeba Ali, who set the stage alight with some delightful stroke in the match against West Indies in the T20 World Cup 2020, and Iram Javed, the middle-order batter, also expressed their delight with the chance to exchange notes with the men’s cricketers.

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“Our session with Babar Azam turned out to be beneficial for me as Babar shared his mind set with us along with his training regimes,” said Ali. “This session helped me in understanding that how a world number one batsman operates in pressure situations. I look forward to implement what I have learned when normalcy returns.”

Javed admitted to being excited to have a session with Azam. “It was a wonderful session in which I got to learn a lot,” she said.

“He shared experiences of handling pressure as a captain and as a player. It was good to hear about how he sets his goals and works to achieve them. I look forward to implement what I have learned from him in my game.”