Urooj Mumtaz

Life has been absolutely crazy since we qualified for the ICC Women’s World Cup following our performances in Stellenbosch, South Africa in February.

The difference in interest from the media has been absolutely amazing and there seems to be a growing recognition from people within our country that there is a Pakistan women’s cricket team as well and that is a massive step forward for us.

When we arrived back in Pakistan at 4AM from South Africa, it seemed like every major news channel was there to greet us which was a really nice surprise. My only worry was how I looked on camera as I had been sat on a plane for almost a whole day, as we had flown back via Johannesburg and Dubai!

My phone is constantly ringing with people wanting to do interviews for television, radio and newspapers, which is really nice, although it has been a real challenge trying to balance my commitments as not only have I been busy with my cricket but I have also been trying to revise for my final dentistry exams which finally finished last week.

We haven’t really had a break from cricket since we came back as we have played in our domestic competition and also had some training camps to help the squad prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.

Although we were delighted to qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup, we know that we have to work on a number of different areas of our game if we are going to be able to compete with the very best at the event.

In particular, we have been focusing on how the top six batsmen can better build their innings and stop giving their wicket away cheaply, as we know we can’t afford to do that against the very best teams. Everybody in our side has the ability to do well at the top level, we just need to apply ourselves better.

To help us do this we have been playing a number of 50-over practice games, to help us build our concentration levels, although we have also done a number of 25-over scenarios as well to improve the speed at which we score runs.

We attended a training camp in Karachi and all the girls have really enjoyed having the opportunity to watch the Indian Premier League on television in the evening.

Some of the crowds have been amazing and it has been fantastic to watch some of the world’s best players score at such amazing rates. I think all of the girls will look to learn something and try and apply it to their own games, although I am not sure I will be able to hit the ball quite as hard as Brendon McCullum!

Knowing that we are going to have the opportunity to play at the same grounds as some of these players, on the same day, at the ICC World Twenty20 2009 is really exciting and a great opportunity to promote the women’s game.

Hopefully events like that, along with the Women’s Asia Cup and the ICC Women’s World Cup, will help to continue build our profile and attract more sponsorship to the sport as this is something that is needed to grow the game.

But for now, our focus is very much on doing everything we can to be ready for our upcoming event and I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead in Sri Lanka.