Diana Baig in action. ©ICC

Just two weeks before Pakistan’s squad is scheduled to depart for their tour of South Africa, they have been dealt a major blow. Pace bowler Diana Baig has been sidelined for it, having suffered a thumb injury and requiring surgery. She has been replaced by Fatima Sana.

Baig sustained her injury during the training camp which has been set up in Karachi as preparation for this crucial tour, where ICC Women’s Championship points are up for grabs in the three ODIs. Baig was injured on Monday, April 15 and went under the knife on Tuesday, April 16. Following her surgery, eight to 10 weeks of rest have been advised, making her unavailable for the South African series, for which the team will depart on April 29. Baig’s rehabilitation will be overseen by the medical professionals at the National Cricket Academy.

Seventeen-year-old Sana, also a pace bowler was named as one of the reserves when the squad was announced. Due to Baig’s injury, she has been called up to the national side and could now be in line for her international debut. The in-form bowler took seven wickets in the same number of matches for the eventual winners ZTBL, in the recently concluded Inter-departmental T20 Women’s Cricket Championship.

Urooj Mumtaz, the Chief Selector of the national side commented on Baig’s injury and Sana’s inclusion in the squad saying, “It was unfortunate that Diana fractured her left thumb during practice yesterday. Thankfully the surgery was a success and I wish her a speedy recovery. Diana has been replaced by Fatima Sana, a young promising fast bowler and I wish her all the best.”

The national team, led by Bismah Maroof, will embark on their 25-day long tour on April 29. During it they will play three ODIs against the hosts, before turning to the shortest format of the game for five matches.

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