Bismah prepares to return to national duty after giving birth to baby girl
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Pakistan’s top-order women batter Bismah Maroof has confirmed her availability for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 and will participate in warm-up matches to be held in Karachi as part of the side’s selection and preparation for the New Zealand event that will take place from 4 March to 3 April 2022.
Bismah, who has played 108 ODIs and T20Is each in a career that started in 2006, commenced her maternity leave in December 2020 and gave birth to a baby girl in August 2021. Bismah has already been re-integrated into cricketing activities and has resumed fitness sessions as part of her post-childbirth rehabilitation at the National High Performance Centre. She will soon commence net practice after overcoming a thumb injury.
Bismah Maroof said: “The past few months have been the best of my life. Becoming a mother and spending time with my daughter has given me immense pleasure, but it is now time to return to my passion of representing Pakistan at an international stage.
“The maternity leave helped me realise the significance of navigating the balance of raising a child and maintaining my professional cricketing career as I missed being on the field each time I saw the girls in action. But thanks to the PCB Parental Support Policy, which has greatly facilitated my return to cricket, I can now resume my ambitions and aspirations of playing for Pakistan and hope to make a useful contribution in our target of doing well in New Zealand.”
Under the policy, if Bismah is selected, she will be allowed to be accompanied by her dependent child and one support person of her choice.
Bismah will be one of the 36 probables who will feature in a seven-match tri-series at the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre from 10-19 January. The women players will be split into two squads and will be joined by a local boys’ side with the New Zealand-bound squad to be named on 25 January.
Meanwhile, the PCB has confirmed Urooj Mumtaz has stepped down as Chair of Women’s Selection Committee to focus on her professional commitments as well as to pursue other opportunities within the game.
Asmavia Iqbal has been named as the new head of the selection panel and will be assisted by junior selection committee members Saleem Jaffar and Taufeeq Umar.
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja said: “I want to thank Urooj Mumtaz for her contributions as Chair of the Pakistan Women’s Selection Committee. You worked diligently in your role for which the PCB is grateful and indebted. We wish you best for your future endeavours.”
Urooj Mumtaz added: “It has been a wonderful experience to head the selection committee and contribute in the growth and progression of women’s cricket. I am grateful for the opportunity and thank all my colleagues, while wishing the team the very best in the 2022 international commitments and beyond.”
Urooj was appointed Chair of the selection committee in March 2019.
Probables for practice matches: Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Anoosha Nasir, Ayesha Bilal, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Nahida Khan, Bismah Maroof, Diana Baig, Fareeha Mehmood, Fatima Sana Khan, Ghulam Fatima (subject to fitness), Gull Feroza, Iram Javed, Javeria Rauf, Javeria Khan, Kainat Hafeez, Kainat Imtiaz (subject to fitness), Maham Tariq, Muneeba Ali, Najiha Alvi, Nashra Sandhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Ramin Shameem, Saba Nazir, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Saima Malik, Sidra Ameen, Sidra Nawaz, Syeda Aroob Shah, Tuba Hassan and Umm-e-Hani.