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Mir axed as ODI captain, Maroof to lead side

Sana Mir delivers a talk in the team huddle ahead of the start of play ICC

Sana Mir has been axed as captain of Pakistan's women's team and will be replaced by Bismah Maroof, a decision that is part of the PCB's revamp of its women's cricket set-up following the team's poor performance at the World Cup in June. Shamsa Hashmi has been dismissed as general manager of the women's wing, and the selection committee, led by Mohammad Ilyas, has also been disbanded. Ayesha Ashar, the team's long-standing manager, has been axed from that role but has been given an interim post in the wing until a new general manager is appointed.

Mir's axing means Maroof will now lead the side in both limited-overs formats. She had been appointed captain of the T20 side in June last year, after Pakistan opted for split leadership. Mir will still be considered for selection as a player.

Pakistan finished at the bottom of the table at the Women's World Cup, losing all seven matches, after which problems between Mir and the team management surfaced. The team's coach Sabih Azhar called Mir "self-centred, egotistical and being wrapped up in oneself", before Mir responded by saying she would not continue with the current set-up.

Earlier this week, Mir refused to attend a training and fitness camp ahead of a series against New Zealand "unless crucial issues regarding women's cricket were addressed" by the PCB. ESPNcricinfo understands Mir was unhappy with the general manager of the women's wing.

The PCB said the revamp was undertaken after assessing reports of the World Cup and a comprehensive internal review.

"The decisions have been taken to address the decline in the performance of women's team," Najam Sethi, the PCB chairman, said. "These are well thought-out decisions taken after a comprehensive internal review. I am hopeful that we will transform women's cricket into a well-knit unit both on the field and at the management level. Sana Mir has made great contributions towards Pakistan's women cricket. She has played an instrumental role for women's cricket in Pakistan. She has led the team with great respect and had always used her best abilities to serve the women's team."

The PCB will seek fresh applications for the general manager's post to succeed Hashmi, a veteran administrator, who has been at the helm of women's cricket in the PCB since 2015. Until that appointment, Ayesha, who was the team's manager since 2009, will take temporary charge of the wing's day-to-day affairs. A new selection committee will be appointed next month to replace the panel led by Ilyas, which had also included former women's captain Urooj Mumtaz and former Test batsman Nadeem Abbasi.

Mir led Pakistan in 72 ODIs and 65 T20Is since taking over the role in 2009. Pakistan won 26 ODIs and lost 45 in her tenure, with only a marginally better record in T20Is. Maroof, the second most experienced player in the side after Mir, has played 92 ODIs and 74 T20Is and rose in prominence after prolific performances in the last few seasons. She scored 99 in a win over South Africa in March 2015, followed by 92 against Bangladesh in October that year and an unbeaten 91 against New Zealand in Lincoln last year. With a tally of 2082 runs, she is Pakistan's second-highest run-getter in women's ODIs, four runs behind Javeria Khan.

The PCB had earlier appointed Mark Coles as head coach of the team for the upcoming series against New Zealand in the UAE, replacing Azhar. The move to bring in a foreign coach is a part of the revamp and is being done on a trial basis. The three-ODI series between Pakistan and New Zealand - scheduled between October 31 and November 5 - is part of the four-year ICC Women's Championship to determine qualification for the 2021 World Cup. The ODIs will be followed by four T20Is, starting from November 8. All matches will be played in Sharjah and the series will be considered a home series for Pakistan.