<
>

Basit Ali-led interim panel to pick women's team for NZ series

Basit Ali has a chat with Fawad Alam Getty Images

The Pakistan women's cricket team has gone through significant upheaval over the past few weeks, with Sana Mir stripped of the captaincy, Mark Coles appointed coach for the New Zealand series, and the general manager of the women's wing, Shamsa Hashmi, dismissed. The Mohammad Ilyas-led selection committee was also sent packing, and the PCB on Wednesday announced that the squad for the series against New Zealand in the UAE will be picked by the junior selection committee, headed by Basit Ali.

A PCB press release called it an "interim arrangement necessitated by paucity of time", and stated that Coles will be consulted regarding selection decisions for the tour. Basit was the head coach of the women's national team until January this year, before being relieved of his duties by then-PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan for an alleged physical altercation with a colleague.

The decision to let the junior selection committee pick the women's team underlines the makeshift nature of the current women's cricket set-up in Pakistan. Coles' appointment as coach is on a trial basis, while Ayesha Ashar, axed as team manager, is serving in the women's wing only until a new general manager is appointed. It will be the first time Bismah Maroof will take charge of the ODI side, having been appointed T20 captain last year.

The Pakistan women's team have had a turbulent last few months, beginning with the Women's World Cup in England where they lost all seven matches. The team's then-coach Sabih Azhar severely criticised captain Mir, calling her "self-centred" and "egotistical". Mir hit back by saying she would not continue with the current set-up, and a few days ago refused to attend a fitness camp ahead of the New Zealand tour, saying she would stay away "unless crucial issues regarding women's cricket in Pakistan were addressed". After that, the PCB removed her as captain, while also sacking general manager Shamsa Hashmi.