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Fatima Sana becomes the 10th ODI captain to lead Pakistan women’s team

Fatima Sana has been named captain of the Pakistan women’s team, taking over from Nida Dar, who has been ruled out from the second ODI against New Zealand women at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Friday, 15 December.

Nida is the third player from the 17-member squad selected for the New Zealand series to get injured on the tour. Earlier, Shawaal Zulfiqar (second T20I) and Diana Baig (one day before first ODI) got injured and were ruled from the remaining matches on the tour. Under Nida’s leadership, Pakistan became the first Asian country to beat White Ferns in T20I series in their own backyard, while right-handed batter Shawaal’s 41 off 42 balls, which included seven fours, was the highest score from the winning side in the first T20I. Diana, with her right-arm fast bowling, has bowled well in the powerplay in T20Is.

Nida, the regular captain, led the side in the first ODI at the John Davies Oval in Queenstown on Tuesday. However, she was struck by a ball on her own bowling in the 44th over of the innings. Nida was subsequently taken off the field due to the impact and Fatima was named the stand-in captain. Following assessment by doctor today, Nida has been reported to have symptoms of concussion. She has been advised for a complete rest for next two days.

Nida’s availability for the third ODI will be determined in due course.

22-year-old Fatima, who made her international debut in the away series against South Africa in May 2019, will become the 10th captain of the women’s team in the ODI format, when she walks out for the toss in Christchurch tomorrow. The right-arm fast bowler, having missed the recent Bangladesh series due to injury, made a remarkable comeback, earning the player of the series award in the three T20Is against White Ferns played from 3 to 9 December. Fatima bagged six wickets at an economy rate of 5.60 in the series and was named player of the match for her figures of 4-0-18-3 in the first T20I at the University of Otago Oval in Dunedin on 3 December.

In June, Fatima captained the Pakistan women’s emerging team in the ACC Women’s Emerging Teams Asia Cup held in Hong Kong, where the side narrowly lost to Bangladesh in the semi-final. In domestic cricket, Fatima has led PCB Blasters in the T20 Women’s Cricket Tournament and took her side to victory, beating PCB Dynamites by seven runs at the Gaddafi Stadium on 9 December 2022.

The Karachi-born player, known for her excellence since the start for her career, was named PCB’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year in 2020 and also became the first Pakistan women cricketer to win the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year in 2021.

Fatima Sana said: “It is an honor to lead the Pakistan women’s side in ODIs, although the circumstances are unfortunate with Nida Dar’s injury. She has been an inspiration, and I wish her a speedy recovery.

“We had a historic T20I series win against New Zealand, and I know the players are eager to perform well in the ODI series too. Although we didn’t have a good outing in the first ODI, we are all geared up to excel in tomorrow’s game.”

Injury update on Diana Baig

Right-arm fast bowler Diana Baig, who was initially ruled out of the ODI series due to a finger injury sustained during a practice session on the eve of the series opener, has undergone surgery on her index finger of the bowling arm. Following the surgery, Diana has been sidelined from competitive cricket for four weeks.

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