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LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Saturday unveiled the two women’s squads for the three Women’s League exhibition matches, which will be played ahead of the HBL-PSL-8 matches in Rawalpindi on March 8, 10 and 11.

The women’s matches will start at 2:00pm and will be followed by the men’s matches at 7:00pm.

Bismah Maroof will captain Amazons, which include Ireland’s Laura Delany, England’s trio of Lauren Winfield-Hill, Maia Bouchier and Tammy Beaumont, and Australia’s Tess Flintoff. Nida Dar will lead the Super Women, which will also comprise Sri Lanka’s Chamari Athapaththu, Danni Wyatt of England, Jahanara Alam of Bangladesh, South Africa’s Laura Wolvaardt and Lea Tahuhu of New Zealand.

This means world’s 10 leading foreign players from seven countries will be represented in the three matches, which are billed as soft launch of the Pakistan Women’s League, which is tentatively planned for September.

These 10 foreign stars will be accompanied by Pakistan’s 20 elite players, four U19 players who featured in the recently held ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup (Areesha Noor, Eyman Fatima, Shawaal Zulfiqar and Syeda Aroob Shah) and two emerging cricketers (Fatima Khan and Syeda Masooma Zahra).

The 36 cricketers have been equally divided into two sides with the playing line-ups to include a maximum of four and minimum of three foreign players and a minimum of one emerging or U19 player.

Of the 10 foreign players, eight cricketers recently featured in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 in South Africa with Delany and Athapaththu captaining Ireland and Sri Lanka, respectively.

South Africa’s Laura Wolvaardt is one of the biggest stars in women’s cricket. She was selected in the Team of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 and is the sixth-ranked batter in the world. Similarly, Danni Wyatt is one of the recognisable names in women’s cricket following her 1,776 ODI and 2,369 T20I runs. Along with Suzie Bates of New Zealand, Wyatt is the second most capped T20I player with 143 matches, eight matches behind India’s Harmanpreet Kaur.

In the ICC rankings for batters, Athapaththu is ranked 11th and is followed by Wyatt (16th), Beaumont (44th) and Delany (61st). Tahuhu is the highest-ranked foreign bowler in eighth position, followed by Jahanara (60th).

Pakistan’s high-ranked players in the field are Bismah Maroof (33rd), Nida Dar (38th), Aliya Riaz (56th) (all batters); Sadia Iqbal (19th), Nida Dar (21st), Nashra Sandhu (26th), Anam Amin (37th) and Tuba Hassan (39th) (all bowlers).

Australia’s Tess Flintoff and Beaumont missed out on last month’s event. 19-year-old Tess is knocking at the doors of international cricket, 31-year-old Beaumont is already an established star cricketer after representing England in seven Tests, 103 ODIs and 99 T20I, scoring a total of 5,493 international runs with 10 centuries.

Amazons’ captain Bismah Maroof said, “I am delighted to lead Amazons team in the three exhibition matches of the Women’s League. This is a great opportunity for our players to express their talent. The involvement of foreign players in the exhibition matches will provide a perfect opportunity to our players to learn from them.”

Super Women captain Nida Dar said, “I am excited to lead the exciting bunch of players from Super Women. The exhibition matches will provide a perfect platform to the emerging players to exhibit their talent. The foreign players’ participating in these matches and their experience will provide a great learning to the local players.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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