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Here is why Bismah Maroof has opted out of Asian Games

Pakistan women's team captain Bismah Maroof and all-rounder Ayesha Naseem will miss their final match against England in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. Maroof sustained a niggle in the groin during her last match, while Naseem pulled her hamstring in the game against Ireland on 15 February. Vice-captain Nida Dar will lead the Green Shirts in their final match of the tournament today at the Newlands.

Bismah Maroof, the former captain of Pakistan’s women’s cricket team, has made a difficult decision ahead of the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. She has chosen to opt-out of the prestigious tournament due to the event’s rules and regulations, which do not permit athletes to be accompanied by their children. This means that Pakistan’s squad will miss the valuable experience and leadership of the seasoned player in their quest for a hat-trick of gold medals. Bismah’s absence creates a void, but it also opens up opportunities for emerging talents in the team.

The remaining players selected for the 15-player squad will be eager to fill the gap left by Bismah’s absence. Among them are left-arm spinner Anoosha Nasir and right-handed batter Shawaal Zulfiqar, who have earned their maiden call-ups following impressive performances in the ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup and Emerging Women’s Teams Asia Cup. Additionally, Diana Baig makes her return to international cricket after recovering from a finger injury, adding experience and depth to the team.

The Asian Games hold great significance for Pakistan’s women’s team, having secured gold medals in the last two editions. The event, scheduled to take place from 19 to 26 September, will be played in T20 format, offering a chance for the team to showcase their talent on the international stage.

Despite the challenge of Bismah’s absence, Chief Selector Saleem Jaffar expressed confidence in the squad, a mix of emerging talent and seasoned campaigners. He believes that the players have the potential to excel in the competition, and a strategic approach has been taken to assemble a solid team that complements the playing conditions in Hangzhou.

Head of Women Cricket, Tania Mallick, also shared her enthusiasm for the team’s participation in the Asian Games, emphasizing the values of camaraderie, sportsmanship, and national pride. The players have shown dedication and skill, and this is an opportunity for them to make history and claim a third consecutive Gold medal.

As Pakistan’s women’s team prepares for the Asian Games, they will also feature in a home series against South Africa, consisting of three T20Is and three ODIs. The squad for this bilateral series will be announced in due course, giving the players a chance to fine-tune their skills before the main event.

In Bismah Maroof’s absence, the team will undoubtedly miss her presence and contributions. However, the players remain determined to make the country proud and uphold the legacy of Pakistan’s women’s cricket in the Asian Games. With a strong belief in their abilities and a sense of unity, they aim to create more unforgettable moments on the international stage.

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