Javeria Khan to lead 17-member Pakistan squad in South Africa; Kainat Imtiaz returns

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Pakistan team in a huddle ahead of a match. © Getty Images

Javeria Khan has been named the captain of the 17-member Pakistan side in the absence of Bismah Maroof that will tour South Africa for three ODIs and three T20Is in January, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Thursday (December 31).

Maroof, regular captain of the side, has opted out of the series for personal reasons. The squad was chosen from the 27-member probables that were training at the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre in Karachi from 20 December.

Both sides last played international cricket during the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia in February-March before everything came to a halt owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The series will kickstart with an ODI on January 20 in Durban and the final T20I will be played on February 3; both fixtures will be played under lights.

“Javeria Khan is an experienced campaigner and has the desired understanding of the game which is necessary to lead the national women’s team. She has undertaken this responsibility in the past and I am certain she will rise to the occasion and inspire the players,” said Urooj Mumtaz, head of the selection committee.

Mumtaz added that the squad has been selected taking into the performances in the recently concluded National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship and from observing the players in the recent probables and high-performance camps.

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“The squad has been selected after closely observing the players in the recent High Performance and probables camps and the National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship,” she said.

“We have seen significant improvement over the last three months in the intent and mindset of the players and the team is shaping up well for the upcoming series. The squad is well balanced and possesses a good blend of youth and experience for what promises to be an exciting tour.”

Kainat Imtiaz, who was named player of the National Triangular T20 tournament, makes a return to the squad along with Ayesha Zafar, Nahida Khan and Nashra Sandhu. Nahida was the leading run-scorer in the tournament with 154 runs to her name, while Zafar scored 111 runs.

The selected squad will continue to train in the bio-secure environment in Karachi and will leave for South Africa on January 11.

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“Our last tour to South Africa in 2018 produced high-quality cricket and we are looking forward to yet another competitive tour, which will be instrumental for the new head coach David Hemp as well as in our preparations for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers,” Mumtaz concluded.

Squad: Javeria Khan (c), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Nawaz (wk) and Syeda Aroob Shah