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LAHORE: With the aim of reducing the national side’s gap with the leading international teams and creating more opportunities for players to grow and evolve according to the demands of the contemporary game, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Monday unveiled a bumper season for the women cricketers.

Bismah Maroof’s side will compete in eight international series, including ICC Women’s Championship commitments, ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and ACC Women’s T20 Asia Cup from May 2022 till February 2023.

In what will be the first instance of Pakistan staging the ICC Women’s Championship fixtures, Sri Lanka will tour the country for three ODIs in May-June. Their tour is beefed with three T20Is – to be played under floodlights – that will help the two sides in their preparations for the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the much-anticipated ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, which will be played in South Africa in February 2023.

Bismah Maroof’s side will host three more ICC Women’s Championship ODIs in October-November when Ireland will arrive in Pakistan for what will be their first tour of the country. Along with three ODIs, the two teams will also face-off in three T20Is. The Ireland women side’s visit will follow the national side’s participation in a triangular T20I series in Bready that will involve the hosts and T20 World Cup champions Australia in July ahead of the eight-team Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Before the Ireland’s visit, Pakistan women will travel to Hangzhou, China, for the 19th Asian Games in September. At the backend of 2022, the national side will participate in the ACC Women’s T20 Asia Cup, the details of which will be announced by the event organizer.

The year 2023 will begin with a challenging tour of Australia in which they will play ICC Women’s Championship ODIs and three T20Is in January-February. The tour will further test the ability of the side and provide them with the crucial experience to continue to grow as a team.

With the ambition of creating a strong talent pool at the domestic level and lays a proper pathway structure, the PCB, in a first, will organize a U-19 T20 competition in Muridke in August with all six Cricket Associations fielding their teams. This initiative will help the PCB to reach out to passionate girls in every nook and corner of the country and help them materialize their dreams of playing the game at the competitive level. The players who standout in the U-19 tournament will have a chance to feature in the senior women’s domestic season 2022-23, in which around 100 cricketers will feature, a PCB spokesman, said.

The senior domestic season will begin with the T20 championship in September in which seven teams will participate. The event will be divided into two phases with four teams, comprising best players from the six Cricket Associations, featuring in the first phase. The top performers from phase one will lock horns with the international cricketers in the second phase of the championship, in which three evenly balanced teams will contest.

The season will conclude with a 14-match One-Day tournament in April with Karachi hosting the four-team event, which will be played on double round-robin league basis to provide all the participating players a healthy mix of quality and quantity.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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