Newcomers will get to prove their worth when given chance to play, says Bismah Maroof

Karachi, May 23 (IANS) Pakistan women’s team captain Bismah Maroof on Monday stated that newcomers in the ODI as well as T20I squads for the white-ball series at home against Sri Lanka will get to prove their worth when opportunity comes for them to be included in playing eleven.

The white-ball series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka will kick off with the first T20I to be played at the Southend Club. Both teams have so far played 13 T20Is against each other and have an even record with six wins apiece apart from one match turning out to be no result.

Pakistan have uncapped duo of wicketkeeper-batter Gull Feroza and leg-spinner Tuba Hassan as newbies in the T20I squad.

“We have an exciting squad in place for both formats (T20 and ODIs). The newcomers in the two squads have a great chance of proving their worth when they get a chance to play. It is always exciting to play an international series in Pakistan and such occasions always motivate us to do well and inspire the fans,” said Maroof on the eve of the series.

The last time these two sides faced off in a T20I bilateral series, Pakistan came out on top with 2-1 margin. Tuesday’s match will be the first T20I between the two sides in Pakistan in what is Sri Lanka women’s first tour to Pakistan in more than 16 years.

“We are looking forward to an exciting series with Sri Lanka. After the World Cup we will start afresh with an aim of winning both T20I and ODI series. We have a packed schedule this year and this series will help us prepare for the challenges ahead especially the Commonwealth Games,” added Maroof.

The three T20Is will be followed by three ICC Women’s Championship ODI fixtures amidst a heatwave in Pakistan. “I think we will have a good contest as Sri Lanka are a formidable opponent especially in Asian conditions. The hot weather will be a challenge but as professional players we would endeavour to overcome the challenge,” observed Maroof.

Sri Lanka touring Pakistan will be the side’s first major international tour after the women’s T20 World Cup in 2020 in Australia. “We are excited to play a strong Pakistan team in its backyard. Pakistan and Sri Lanka have always enjoyed friendly relations and I am confident the series will be played in good spirit,” said skipper Chamari Athapaththu.

Just like Maroof, Athapaththu admitted that the scorching weather will provide a challenge for her team to play well. “The weather is hot and humid and it will test us but at the same time it will provide us an opportunity of testing our skills in challenging conditions.”

“We have a good balance of senior and junior players and we feel we can do well on the tour as most of the players have considerable experience of domestic cricket which we play regularly.”

Pakistan T20I squad: Bismah Maroof (captain), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Gull Feroza (wicketkeeper), Iram Javed, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui (wicketkeeper), Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal and Tuba Hassan.

Sri Lanka T20I squad: Chamari Athapaththu (captain), Achini Kulasuriya, Ama Kanchana, Anushka Sanjeewani, Harshitha Samarawickrama, Hasini Perera, Imesha Dulani, Inoka Ranaweera, Kavisha Dilhari, Nilakshi de Silva, Oshadhi Ranasinghe, Prasadani Weerakkody, Sachini Nisansala, and Sugandika Kumari.