Pakistan have named Javeria Khan as the stand-in captain for the South Africa tour next month after regular captain Bismah Maroof pulled out for "family reasons". A 17-women squad was announced for the three ODIs and as many T20Is, as Pakistan prepare for the Women's World Cup Qualifier in July 2021 for the main event in early 2022 in New Zealand.
Twenty-eight-year-old allrounder Kainat Imtiaz, who has been in an out of the team since 2010, was recalled after an impressive show in the domestic circuit. She averaged 111 from four games with a half-century and also picked up three wickets with her medium pace. Iram Javed, who was part of the squad for the T20 World Cup earlier this year, was dropped as the selectors recalled Ayesha Zafar, Kainat, Nahida Khan and Nashra Sandhu.
As many as 27 players had been training for the tour in a biosecure bubble in Karachi in the lead up to the tour. The upcoming series will be Pakistan Women's first after a gap of 10 months.
The selections were broadly based on the performances in the recent National Triangular T20 Women's Championship, played from November 22 to December 1 in Rawalpindi, and also took into account the form and fitness of the players in the recent camp. Nahida, 34, finished the Women's Cricket Championship as the leading run-scorer with 154 runs at an average of 51, and Zafar was the fourth-best batter with a tally of 111. Muneeba Ali (with two hundreds and a fifty) and Omaima Sohail (one hundred) were retained in the squad because of their current form.
"We have seen significant improvement over the last three months in the intent and mindset of the players and the team is shaping up well for the upcoming series," chief selector Urooj Mumtaz said. "The squad is well balanced and possesses a good blend of youth and experience for what promises to be an exciting tour.
"Javeria Khan is an experienced campaigner and has the desired understanding of the game which is necessary to lead the national women's team. She has undertaken this responsibility in the past and I am certain she will rise to the occasion and inspire the players. Our last tour to South Africa in 2018 produced high-quality cricket and we are looking forward to yet another competitive tour, which will be instrumental for the new head coach David Hemp as well as in our preparations for the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifiers."
The selected squad will continue to stay in Karachi and depart for Durban on 11 January. They will start training and play intra-squad matches from January 13 before the ODIs begin on January 20, followed by the T20Is, with the tour finishing on February 3.
Squad for ODIs and T20Is: Javeria Khan (capt), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Nawaz (wk) and Syeda Aroob Shah