LAHORE: Pakistan women’s ODI and T20I squads brace up for a challenge against a formidable Australia unit in their backyard in the white-ball series consisting of three ODIs and as many T20Is.
The three ODIs slated to begin on 16 January are part of the ICC Women’s Championship 2022-25.
The first two ODIs will be played at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane on 16 and 18 January, where Pakistan are currently practicing over the past four days. For the final match of the series, the two teams will travel to Sydney to play on 21 January.
Pakistan enter the ODI series in good form, having acquired five wins from their six outings in the ICC Women’s Championship. They clinched a 2-1 win over Sri Lanka in Karachi in June last year and later achieved a 3-0 sweep over Ireland in Lahore in November.
One of the star performers for Pakistan in both series was opening batter Sidra Amin. The right-handed batter is placed at the top of the batting charts in the ICC Women’s Championship with a whopping tally of 495 runs in six games, 155 runs clear of second-placed Harmanpreet Kaur who has 340 runs to her name. Sidra’s runs have come at an average of 123.75, and an impressive strike-rate of 88.55, demonstrating her attacking stroke-play.
She has scored 653 runs in her last 10 innings with three hundreds and two half-centuries. The hallmark of Sidra’s batting dominance was her unbeaten 176 against Ireland in the ODI series opener in her hometown Lahore, recording the fifth-highest individual score in Women’s ODIs.
All geared up to continue the momentum in 2023 and take up the challenge of scoring runs in the foreign conditions of Australia, the 30-year-old told PCB Digital on Saturday : “I am here in Australia for the first time, the conditions here are different to Pakistan as the ball rises a bit and I am trying to acclimatise as quickly as possible.
“We had our preparation camps in Lahore and Karachi where we played some practice games before coming to Australia.”
When asked to reflect on her supreme run last year, Sidra deemed the past 12 months as special. She claimed the string of quality knocks against different oppositions would give her a lot of confidence heading into the forthcoming series and she will be able to make the most of it.
On her role in the team and how important it is for an opener to give a good start from the front, Sidra said, “As an opener it is a challenging job to face two new balls in ODI cricket, you have to see off the new ball and at the same time score runs and give a good start to the innings. Muneeba and I will look to give a good start to the innings so the batters coming after us should have the momentum to take it forward.
“When you perform individually it helps your team, I will try to score runs which will ultimately benefit my team. The message from coach and captain is very simple, go out and play positive cricket, score runs for the team and help the team do well.”
The Lahore-born batter also opened up about the importance of facing a top-tier side like Australia, in terms of the advanced level of cricket on display and a shot at earning their first-ever win against the hosts.
“Everyone knows that Australia is a great side, playing against them is a good omen. It will help us to learn a lot,” said Sidra.
Pakistan ODI squad for Australia series:
Bismah Maroof (c), Aliya Riaz, Ayesha Naseem, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali (wk), Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz (wk) and Tuba Hassan.
Traveling Reserves: Aimen Anwar and Javeria Khan
Player Support staff: Ayesha Ashhar (team manager), Saleem Jaffer (bowling coach and interim head coach), Taufiq Umar (batting coach), Mauhtashim Rashid (fielding coach), Yasir Malik (strength and conditioning coach), Muhammad Zubair Ahmad (analyst), Syed Nazir Ahmed (media and digital content manager) and Rifat Gill (physiotherapist).
Australia series Itinerary
16 January – First ODI at Allan Border Field, Brisbane
18 January – Second ODI at Allan Border Field, Brisbane
21 January – Third ODI at North Sydney Oval No.1, North Sydney
24 January – First T20I at North Sydney Oval No.1, North Sydney
26 January – Second T20I at Blundstone Arena, Hobart
29 January – Third T20I at Manuka Oval, Canberra. (APP)