Urooj Mumtaz dismisses allegations of axing Sana Mir over personal reasons

Sana Mir exults after picking up a wicket. ©ICC

Urooj Mumtaz Khan, chief selector of Pakistan, brushed aside allegations of dropping Sana Mir due to a personal grudge. The veteran off-spinner was left out of the squad for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 announced on January 20.

This is the first time Mir will not take part in a World Cup since making her debut in 2005. She has been part of four one-day and all six T20 World Cups so far.

Batool Fatima, former Pakistan player in a recent TV interview accused Mumtaz of dropping Mir from the T20 squad due to personal problems. Mumtaz though clearly stated after the squad announcement that the selection was based on the current form and Mir’s form at the moment was not up to the mark.

“Unfortunately, Sana’s present form in T20 cricket hasn’t been great and we have taken into consideration two internationals series and domestic tournaments,” Mumtaz said. “There can be no doubt about her achievements, and the fact that she has been an inspiration in the sport. Her experience is unmatched but now we have an expanding pool of players and we have to pick players who are performing consistently.”

“The team for the World Cup was picked on merit, and the recent performances were taken into account,” she said.

In the recently held National T20 Cup, Sana Mir had an average tournament picking up just four wickets. Over the past two years, the off-spinner has averaged 27.81 picking up 22 wickets in the 27 T20Is. In her last series against Bangladesh, she featured in one T20I wherein she picked just one wicket conceding 35 runs.

After the series against Bangladesh, Pakistan featured in a three-match ODI and T20I series against England, wherein the experienced Mir skipped the tour due to personal reasons.

“She couldn’t perform well in the recently concluded National Women’s T20,” Mumtaz said, adding that Mir “skipped the England series and didn’t do well against Bangladesh earlier in the T20 series.”

Mumtaz is optimistic about the squad that has been picked for the showpiece event Down Under. She believes there is a good blend of youth and experience in it and hopes the team performs well under Bismah Maroof’s captaincy.

“It’s a big event and we have a tough competition there. Teams there are strong but I’m hopeful of better results,” she said. “Players have prepared well for the tournament and I’m confident they will do well there.”

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