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Diana Baig returns as Pakistan name squads for women's T20 World Cup and Australia tour

Bismah Maroof will lead a team hoping to make it past the group stage of a T20 World Cup for the first time

Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq
14-Dec-2022
Diana Baig appeals for a wicket, Bangladesh vs Pakistan, Women's Asia Cup 2022, Sylhet, October 3, 2022

Diana Baig is back after missing the home series against Ireland  •  Asian Cricket Council

Fast bowler Diana Baig has been named in Pakistan's squads for the ODI and T20I series in Australia in January and the women's T20 World Cup in South Africa in February, after recovering from a shoulder injury. Pakistan will be taking the same set of players to the T20Is in Australia and the World Cup.
Left-arm spinner Sadia Iqbal also made a return to both the ODI and T20I squads, while legspinner Tuba Hassan has been picked for her first T20 World Cup after missing the home series against Ireland in November. With Fatima Sana, Sadia, Tuba and Baig, Pakistan have largely brought together the same bowling group that took them to the semi-finals of the T20 Asia Cup in Bangladesh this October.
Fast bowler Kainat Imtiaz did not make the T20 World Cup squad but was picked for the ODIs in Australia despite taking only one wicket in two matches against Ireland. Anam Amin, a T20 specialist, was also left out of the squads. Offspinner Umm-e-Hani, who made her international debut in the third ODI against Ireland in October, was not part of the squad in either format.
Bismah Maroof will lead the Pakistan team on both campaigns, while former captain Javeria Khan is part of the T20 squad, and in the list of reserves for the ODI series in Australia.
"I wish luck to the players who have been selected for both the Australia series and ICC Women's T20 World Cup," Asmavia Iqbal, the women's chief selector, said. "I am hopeful the side will continue to perform in the same manner they have performed recently in the ACC Women's Asia Cup and Ireland series. The ODI series against Australia is very crucial, the expectations are high as we have won five of the six ICC Championship matches and our aim is to qualify directly for the 50-over World Cup.
"We have relied more on the senior players in the formation of the squad for the World Cup and we expect them to use their experience on the field and get positive results for the team. The return of Diana Baig, Sadia Iqbal and Tuba Hassan will give a boost to the side and will strengthen our bowling attack, which has the capability to do well. Sidra Nawaz has been added as our second wicketkeeper in the squad to give Muneeba Ali some space to express herself more with the bat, and gives an added option to the captain to utilise the services of a second wicketkeeper on the long tour."
Pakistan are in Group 2 in the T20 World Cup along with England, India, Ireland and West Indies. They play their opening game against India on February 12 in Cape Town. Pakistan have never gone past the group stage in the T20 World Cup; in the 2020 edition, they won only one game, against West Indies, lost to England and South Africa, and the fixture against Thailand was washed out.
Before going to South Africa for the World Cup, Pakistan head to Australia to play three ODIs, which are part of the 2022-25 Women's Cricket Championship, on January 16, 18 and 21, followed by three T20Is on January 24, 26 and 29. The squad leaves for Brisbane from Karachi on January 6, and they will have training camps in Lahore and Karachi before their departure.
Pakistan T20I squad for Australia and ICC Women's T20 World Cup: Bismah Maroof (capt), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Ayesha Naseem, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali (wk), Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz (wk), Tuba Hassan
Reserves: Ghulam Fatima, Kainat Imtiaz, Sadaf Shamas
Pakistan ODI squad for Australia: Bismah Maroof (capt), Aliya Riaz, Ayesha Naseem, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali (wk), Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz (wk)
Reserves: Aiman Anwar, Javeria Khan, Tuba Hassan

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent