The captain of Pakistan women’s cricket team Javeria Khan said the players are excited to be back on the field after almost 10 months.

She was speaking online to the media here on Saturday ahead of the team’s departure to South Africa.

Talking about the training camp and practice, she said: “We had our training camp here at the National Stadium where we trained hard and had competitive games.

“Two players are making a comeback after a very long time — Kainat Imtiaz and Ayesha Zafar, both of whom are in good touch. Our series against South Africa is important because we are playing after a very long time and it will help us prepare for the [2022 World Cup] qualifying round. We’ll also have a much better knowledge of the right team combination when we head into the qualifying round. Our youngsters will also hopefully learn how to absorb pressure in international cricket by playing this series.”

When asked about the captaincy challenges, Javeria said she would give it her top effort.

“It’s always a big honour to lead one’s country and I will try my best to perform my duties to the best of my capacity. I will try to make sure that all the girls are in a better frame of mind so that they could perform well. Captaincy, in my opinion, does not bring added pressure along with it. Instead, it gives you added responsibility which I think everyone should enjoy.”

On comparing the working methodology of the incumbent head coach with the previous coaches, Javeria said she was focused on looking forward.

“I wouldn’t delve into the past and would like to talk about our present day coaching set-up. It’s been three months since David Hemp joined us. His thought-process revolves around the idea of helping us play modern-day cricket. And he wants us to get into the top four in international rankings for which he has been preparing us,” the captain said.

She said that the team was trying to cover all three departments instead of relying on any one in order to win games in South Africa.

According to her, the batters and bowlers had separate training sessions where they discussed the weak links in the South African line-up and how they could exploit them. She also added that the team had practised keeping the South African weaknesses in mind.

On regular captain’s Bismah Maroof’s absence from the team, the skipper said the team would definitely miss her.

“We will definitely miss Bismah since she is the leader of this side and has been performing really well in both the departments. On the other hand, it’s a good opportunity for the youngsters to showcase their talents.”

When asked to comment on the less number of players selected compared to the men’s team owing to Covid-19 issues, she said: “I think we have ample number of players since we are playing a short series in South Africa. The men’s team had to play Tests, ODIs and T20Is whereas we have to feature in only three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals.”

Javeria has been very vocal in the past for a PSL type league for women cricketers.

When asked whether the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should expedite the process now that Cricket Australia (CA) has a Big Bash League for its women cricketers, she hoped that a women-specific league would materialise soon.

“The PCB is taking things into account and waiting to have a better pool of cricketers. That time is not far when we will have our own league for women cricketers.”

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