Bismah Maroof returns to lead Pakistan in World Cup 2022

Bismah Maroof in action © Getty Images

Coming back from her maternity leave, Bismah Maroof will lead the 15-member Pakistan side in the Cricket World Cup 2022 that’s scheduled to be played in New Zealand from March 4, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Monday (January 24).

30-year-old Maroof was absent from international cricket when she took an indefinite break from international cricket after the birth of her first child. In April 2021, when she announced the news about her break, PCB introduced a parental support policy clause in the central contract allowing the Pakistan skipper to remain in the Grade A category and earn the monthly sum that’s part of the agreement.

“It is a great honour for me to lead my country into another World Cup. I am thrilled to be back in action and do what I love and have dedicated my life to,” Maroof said.

“The recent selection matches proved to be fruitful for me and the whole side as we got some match practice under competitive and challenging environment leading into the mega event. The aim is to reach the World Cup semi-finals and I believe this team has the potential to pull it off.”

Allrounder Nida Dar will serve as the deputy of Maroof, while leg-spinner Ghulam Fatima, who last played an ODI in 2017, made a return to the squad with Syeda Aroob Shah not making it to the main squad or the travelling reserves. Young Ayesha Naseem and opener Ayesha Zafar also failed to make it the side despite some impressive performances. Allrounder Kainat Imtiaz and left-arm spinner Sadia Iqbal missed out of selection because of injuries.

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Asmavia Iqbal, chief selector, Saleem Jaffar and Taufeeq Umar are part of the committee that selected the 15-member squad as well as the reserves in Iram Javed, Najiha Alvi and Tuba Hassan.

“I want to congratulate every player who made it to the squad for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. We considered the conditions and challenges our team will encounter in New Zealand along with the current form of players and the team’s balance while putting together this squad,” Asmavia said.

“While we have retained majority of the players who have been on the national duty recently, we have called back Nahida Khan and Ghulam Fatima. Nahida brings with her experience that every team seeks going into a World Cup and Fatima has had an incredible run in Karachi. She has done well to enhance her fitness and has been in good form in domestic cricket of late.”

Pakistan will start their World Cup campaign with the match against their arch rival India on March 6. Before the departure for New Zealand on February 8, they will be involved in a ten-day pre-departure camp in Karachi from January 27.

Pakistan: Bismah Maroof (c), Nida Dar (vc), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sandhu, Omaima Sohail, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz (wk)

Travelling reserves: Iram Javed, Najiha Alvi and Tuba Hassan

Support staff: David Hemp (head coach), Aisha Jalil (team manager), Arshad Khan (assistant coach), Kamran Hussain (assistant coach), Saboor Ahmad (strength and conditioning coach), Zubair Ahmad (analyst), Ahsan Iftikhar Nagi (media and digital content manager) and Rifat Asghar Gill (Physiotherapist)