Muneeba Ali aiming to make the most of her comeback
Pakistan recalled two players for the next month’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. One of them was left-handed batter Muneeba Ali, who impressed selectors and fans alike with her outstanding knocks in the recent National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship.
The 22-year-old scored a century and three half-centuries in five innings and finished as the highest run-getter in the three-team tournament with 292 runs at an average of over 58. She last turned out for Pakistan in November 2018 and is now eager to cement her place in the side.
“There’s disappointment when you get dropped but that’s only for the time being,” Muneeba said. “I worked on my weaknesses and discussed them with Mark Coles, then head coach, and Bismah Maroof, our captain. I was advised to improve my shot selection and develop an aggressive style of batting. I am very glad that I was able to perform consistently in the National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship. I got a start and built on it over the course of the five matches. My aim for the World Cup is to execute the plans given by the team management and utilise my potential to the fullest.”
Muneeba, an opener, has played 20 international matches – seven ODIs and 13 T20Is – since she made her Pakistan debut in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2016.
Her love for the game developed by playing it in the streets of Karachi. She won various trophies for her school and college cricket teams and was a regular in the other sports. But, her interest in the other sports fizzled out over time.
“I used to play cricket in streets from my childhood and my interest in the game kept on growing because of which I asked my mother to register me in an academy. I also played Basketball, Hockey and Volleyball. But, my interest in these sports was for a limited time. I realised that I can play cricket and I have that capability because of which I can play this sport at a good level. I received a lot of support from my mother in my early days. Now, I have everyone’s support. My school friends keenly follow me and when I perform, they appreciate me by posting their messages on the social media. I was the captain of my school team and we were champions of an inter-school tournament for two years. I played inter-college competitions for PECHS and we were champions there as well. We had a strong team as many players from our college went on to play at the national level.”
Muneeba has recently completed her bachelor’s degree and aims to start master’s level education after the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia next month.
“I have recently completed my bachelor’s degree and I am thinking of pursuing a master’s degree after the World Cup. My education went smooth till the intermediate level as I had not started to play for Pakistan by then. But, my bachelor’s degree, which normally takes two years, took three as I had to miss my exams due to the national team’s camps and tours.
The national women’s team will depart for Australia on 31 January. The Bismah Maroof-led unit begins their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 journey on 26 February against the West Indies Women. They take on England Women on February 28 after which they play South Africa Women and Thailand Women on 1 and 3 March, respectively.