Bismah optimistic ahead of challenging South Africa tour

Pakistan women’s team will tour South Africa after a period of eight years

Bismah optimistic ahead of challenging South Africa tour PHOTO: Express

Pakistan Women’s Team captain Bismah Maroof is optimistic, about her side’s chances, ahead of a challenging tour away to South Africa.

Pakistan will be touring South Africa after a long gap of eight years and will play a three-match one-day international (ODI) and a five-match T20I series across five venues from May 6-23.

“I think it will be a challenging tour especially because we are going there after a long gap of eight years but we will try to put up a good show during the series,” said Maroof while talking in an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan.

Maroof, who started playing cricket at a tender age of 15, is satisfied with how her 13-year career has progressed so far.   

“I started playing cricket at a very young age because I was passionate about playing this game and I’m glad about what I have achieved over the course of my career,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t know what I will do when I bring the curtain down on my career.”

The 27-year-old also spoke about the importance of central contracts for women cricketers.

“When I initially started playing cricket, we were only paid a daily allowance of PKR 300 daily but now, thankfully, centrally contracted and are paid a handsome amount on a monthly basis,” she said. “This has also encouraged women in Pakistan to take up cricket as a profession.”

The all-rounder also brushed aside the notion that only a selected bunch of senior cricketers were dominating women’s cricket.

“I think it is wrong to say that young cricketers have not been given opportunities to represent Pakistan because they have contributed to team’s victories in the recent past,” she said. “I know we lack bench strength but, I think, we need more A-team tours to resolve this problem.”

She added: “I think more focus needs to be put on organising cricket at grass root level, especially school cricket, in order to ensure that more cricketers come through the ranks.”

The left-handed batsman also said that there was no jealousy between women cricketers, while responding to a question about whether former women’s chief selector Jalaluddin was right to make such a comment.  

“I won’t agree with that because unity is the strength of our side,” she said. “Although I will admit there is professionally jealousy amongst us but that helps in inspiring other to perform better.”

Maroof also said that that the team has a good relationship with Head Coach Mark Coles, despite his short temper.

 “He only reprimands us when we do something wrong professionally,” she said. “All the players are on board with him and there is no source of discord between us and the coach.”

She also praised Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s decision to appoint an all-women selection committee.

As part of its strategy to further strengthen the women’s game, PCB named a new three-person selection committee that will be chaired by former captain Urooj Mumtaz. The committee retained Asmavia Iqbal, while Marina Iqbal was added as the new selector.

“I think it is a good decision because these players have played for Pakistan before and know the workings of our cricket,” he said. “I hope their appointment in the selection committee will bring about a positive change in Pakistan cricket.”

Maroof also expressed the desire to play Test cricket for Pakistan, bearing in mind the fact the team last played a five-day match way back in 2004 against West Indies in Karachi.

“Being a cricketer, playing Test cricket means a lot to us and hopefully somewhere down the line we will get the opportunity to play the longest version of the game.”