Pakistan unchanged for women's World Cup qualifiers

Pakistan have stuck to the same squad that they had announced in October last year for the ICC women's World Cup qualifiers, which they were scheduled to host last November. The tournament was shifted to Stellenbosch in South Africa due to political unrest in Pakistan.

Urooj Mumtaz, the 22-year-old legspinning allrounder, will lead a 14-member squad as Pakistan aim to become one of only two teams from the eight-team tournament to qualify for the 2009 World Cup in Australia. Sajida Shah, the right-arm offspinner, will be Mumtaz's deputy.

The squad, which is a mixture of experience and youth, features a host of medium-pacers as well as a couple of seam-bowling allrounders - Sana Mir and Asmavia Iqbal. The youngest member in the squad is the 16-year-old left-hand batsman, Bismah Maroof, who has played nine ODIs, scoring 148 runs at 18.50 with a highest score of 48.

Pakistan, who are ranked 10th in the world, are slotted in Group B, which also features Ireland, Scotland and Zimbabwe. Their main rivals in the group stage will be Ireland, who are currently No. 8.

The match between Pakistan and Ireland will be among six matches in the tournament, along with the third and fourth place play-offs, the semi-finals, the final, and the match between South Africa and Netherlands, to have ODI status, as only matches between the top ten teams are granted that billing.

Pakistan squad:
Urooj Mumtaz (capt), Bismah Maroof, Sana Javed, Nain Abidi, Taskeen Qadeer, Sana Mir, Batool Fatima (wk), Asmavia Iqbal, Qanita Jalil, Sadia Yousuf, Sabahat Rasheed, Sumaiya Siddiqui, Nida Dar