Maroof: ‘India have gained confidence because of opportunities to play in other leagues’

Bismah Maroof, the Pakistan captain, believes that India’s batters have benefitted greatly from playing regularly in overseas leagues, something her players have not been able to do.

“Indian players and batters have developed and gained confidence because of opportunities to play in the leagues, which is not the case with our players,” Maroof said after Pakistan’s eight-wicket defeat which has put them on the brink of elimination in the Commonwealth Games. “Once our players start getting more such opportunities they will develop well and get confident.”

While Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh, Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma were part of the Women’s Big Bash League in 2021-22, Harmanpreet and Pooja Vastrakar are set to be a part of the forthcoming season. Mandhana, Harmanpreet, Rodrigues, Shafali and Deepti were also part of the inaugural season of the Hundred last year with Rodrigues set to continue with Northern Supercharges for the upcoming season.

On the other hand, in 2019-20, Nida Dar was the first – and till date, only – player from Pakistan to feature in the WBBL, while none of the players were involved in the Hundred. Maroof was part of the FairBreak Invitational Tournament earlier this year along with fellow Pakistan team-mates Aliya Riaz, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana and former captain Sana Mir, who has retired from international cricket.

“We are playing mix-and-match [style of cricket] because that’s the requirement of the team,” Maroof said about Pakistan’s approach that is less-reliant on power-hitting. “One has to play the anchor and stay in the middle but the power-hitters whom we rely on couldn’t execute things for us. That’s an area to work on.”

Maroof pinned hopes on a women’s PSL, something which PCB chair Ramiz Raja has proposed, to help Pakistan on that front. “We are expecting [the women’s PSL to be launched] next year, that is the plan. Hopefully it materialises and helps our bench strength.”
Through the Women’s World Cup earlier this year, Maroof’s toddler, Fatima, was a darling for the photographers and players alike. She was often seen as being the bridge between the teams as players were gladly posing for pictures with her. Ahead of the Games, Maroof’s participation was in doubt after her daughter was denied accreditation. But the PCB fought her case and Maroof’s mother also travelled in order to take care of Fatima.

“It was important for me to have her around, as I couldn’t have left her back at home,” Maroof said as she was asked if Fatima is enjoying being in the CWG Village. “Credit to PCB for fighting out the case and am very thankful to the board for granting me the permission. Whenever Fatima meets players from other team, she (also) enjoys it very much.

“[It is] tough to manage. But I am keen to play and serving and leading Pakistan is an honour. I focus on getting time out for that and with my mother around, we share the task of taking care of her.”

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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