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‘Mir wanted former team-mates appointed to selection committee’

Sana Mir, recently axed from captaincy, has found herself back in the spotlight as the former women’s general manger Shamsa Hashmi said that she had been trying to control Mir’s ‘manoeuvring and hegemony by counselling’. She criticised Mir’s captaincy over the years, saying she had been discouraging players, and had taken shocking on-field decisions. Mir will be replaced by Bismah Maroof as captain, a decision that is part of the PCB’s revamp of its women’s cricket set-up following the team’s poor performance at the World Cup in June. Shamsa was herself dismissed as general manager.

“I never spoke earlier in public about what Sana had been saying, because I was part of the PCB, and I do like to follow the organisation’s obligations,” Shamsa told reporters in a rare media appearance at her home. “I heard she didn’t want to work with the management of the women’s wings, but still she had been working with us for the last two-and-a-half years. Now I don’t know what suddenly went wrong. There may be a lot of factors behind it but she never conveyed those to me, except one. She wanted to have her former fellow players appointed to the selection committee, and one of them she wanted to have as women’s team trainer. I didn’t want to be a part of it, and I told her that I would have to think about it. So if that was the problem, then I can’t do anything about it.”

Mir, the team manager, and a couple of senior players had been singled out for blame for Pakistan’s winless World Cup campaign. In a damning report, coach Sabih Azhar accused Mir of adopting a “negative approach” and of being completely self-obsessed. He also complained that Ayesha Ashar – who has been sacked from the managerial post and made interim general manager women wings – paid most of her attention to some senior players and was “cold” towards the younger players.

“If we recall our World Cup performance, it wasn’t bad at all,” Shamsa said. “But the way players are being used, with rapid batting order changes and unorthodox changes in bowling – these are the things that let us down. I want to recall the England match in which Heather Knight and (Natalie) Sciver scored hundreds, and most of their runs were on the leg, but the field wasn’t adjusted accordingly.

“Against South Africa, for example, we lost by [a small margin]. Against Sri Lanka, we lost only because we didn’t take the Powerplay and that was the responsibility of the captain in the middle. So these are the critical things to notice.”

Mir, 31, had, before the World Cup, hinted at retiring from the game. The PCB top brass then came up with the suggestion of giving Mir a graceful exit, but later decided to retain her for a few series and assess her individual performance. Mir had also stepped down as captain of the T20 side after 2016 Women’s World T20. “I do respect Sana as a player and since she is captain, I wanted to give her a graceful exit,” Shamsa said. “But as far as her manipulation and hegemony is concerned, I told her we should abide only by merit.”

Updated: October 5, 2017 — 6:35 pm

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