Sana Mir left out as Pakistan announce T20 World Cup squad
Sana Mir was left out as selectors on Monday announced the Pakistan squad for the upcoming ICC Women's T20 World Cup.
The selectors opted to recall Muneeba Ali and Aimen Anwar whereas Ayesha Naseem is the uncapped player in the 15-member lineup.
The three players have replaced Nahida Khan, Ayesha Zafar and Rameen Shamim in the T20I squad, all of whom were part of the team that endured a whitewash at the hands of England in Malaysia.
Mir, who took an indefinite break from international cricket in November, has represented Pakistan in each of the last six editions of the T20 World Cup.
She is currently the second-leading wicket-taker for her country in T20Is but has not been able to sustain good form in the shortest format of late.
The 34-year-old was thus overlooked for selection for the team's limited-overs assignment in Malaysia despite being the most-capped player from Pakistan across both forms of the game.
“Though Sana Mir doesn’t feature in the 15-player line-up, I believe we still have the desired experience in the squad," Urooj Mumtaz, the chair of the national women's selection committee, was quoted as saying in the PCB press release.
"Sana has been a phenomenal servant of Pakistan cricket while being an inspiration to many girls out there. Unfortunately, her recent performances in the T20 format were not on her side."
Meanwhile, skipper Bismah Maroof revealed the exclusion of Mir was a much-debated topic amidst the deliberations surrounding the selection of the squad.
The top-order batter said she insisted on including Mir for the 20-over showpiece event but the management faced the predicament of leaving out the more deserving emerging players.
“It was a tough decision to leave out Sana Mir. I wanted to have her in the squad over which I, along with the selection committee, had deep deliberations," she stated.
"We had to decide between her and the emerging players who had been impressing on all the stages."
“I respect and support the decision of the major group and hope she will continue to serve Pakistan women’s cricket in the future with the same passion and energy.”
The make-up of the squad has also been influenced by the players' performances in the domestic National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship.
The recalled duo of Muneeba and Aimen have been rewarded for their solid showings in the tournament while teenager Ayesha impressed with her power-hitting abilities striking at over 200.
"The selection of 15-year-old Ayesha and 16-year-old Aroob Shah should be a motivation and message for all the budding youngsters," Mumtaz added.
Pakistan are grouped alongside England, South Africa, Thailand and the West Indies in the T20 World Cup, scheduled to kick off on February 21.
Pakistan will begin their journey in the competition on 26 February against the West Indies.
Squad (in alphabetical order):
Bismah Maroof (captain), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Iram Javed, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Nawaz (wicketkeeper), Syeda Aroob Shah