Pakistan women's team skipper Sana Mir on how the Indian stars fare on squad's popularity charts
Chennai: In the past 11 years, Sana Mir has done her bit to change the perception about women's cricket in Pakistan and as she prepares to hand over the leadership baton, there is a pleasing sense of satisfaction about her on and off the field achievement in the game.
Pakistan women's cricket team captain Sana Mir during a practice session at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai yesterday. They start their campaign against West Indies in Bangalore on Tuesday. Pic/PTI
The 30-year-old said how cricket is considered as a medium of women's empowerment in Pakistan. "Yes, we have come a long way. It is considered as a medium for women's empowerment in Pakistan. Now girls want to take up cricket. This team has done a lot to change the perception. There were times it was difficult for women's cricket in Pakistan but now parents come up and tell me that they want their daughters to play cricket," Sana told reporters at a media conference, here yesterday.
Mir to give up captaincy
Mir did let out a little secret that Virat Kohli is the most popular cricketer in their women's team although her personal favourite is Mahendra Singh Dhoni. "There are couple of names. If I just talk about my players, I think Virat Kohli is the favourite cricketer. Personally, Dhoni is my favourite player because he had led India. He has handled himself well on and off the field. He has transformed a team of juniors into an effective unit," the captain in Sana came out.
She has decided to relinquish captaincy post World T20 and wants to personally supervise a smooth change of guard by continuing as an ordinary team member before calling time on her illustrious career. Sana is quick to dismiss the notion that there will be any void once she leaves the game.
"Always there will be somebody. We have been grooming my successor for the past three or four years. Captaining Pakistan was an honour. I think this is the right time for the next captain to take over as we are two years away from the next World T20 and Asian Games gold medal, that we would be defending. This would be the best time for the new captain to come in and settle down."
'Want to set a trend'
Perhaps Pakistan's men's team's captains, who have unintentionally been a part of musical chair that is played for the hot seat can take a leaf out of their women's team captain's book.
"That is the trend that I would like to set in our country because it is very important that the leadership passes on smoothly. After retirement, I will continue as a player. I will be in the team as a player until the new captain settles down. Jayawardane and Sangakara have shown this and they have been wonderful ambassadors of the game. I think I will be available as a player."