The Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday confirmed that 18-year-old batter Ayesha Naseem is retiring from all forms of competitive cricket, due to “personal reasons”. The PCB has appointed Nida Dar as the new skipper and it will also be her first full-time stint as the leader of the team. On Sunday, it was reported that Naseem, an explosive right-hander had decided to call it quits because of religious reasons but PCB took another 48 hours to confirm the development. Although she had reasoned her retirement for “personal reasons”, it was widely speculated that it was primarily for religious reasons. Consequently, she will not be a part of Pakistan women’s squad during the upcoming Asian Games set in Hangzhou, China between September 23-October 8.
“We wish the best of luck to Ayesha Naseem in her future endeavours as the PCB understands and respects her decision to quit the game for personal reasons,” said PCB’s women’s cricket head Tania Mallick in a statement.
Ayesha has featured in four One-Day Internationals and 30 T20 Internationals for the side, which included a couple of outings at the ICC T20 World Cup (2020 and 2023).
She was famous for her hard-hitting skills, especially down the order, possessing a strike rate of 128.12 in the shortest format, the best by any Pakistani batter in her gender.
She had previously captained the side during the encounter against South Africa at the T20 World Cup in South Africa earlier this year.
Among the other members who have made it to the squad for Hangzhou are left-arm spinner Anosha Nasir, batter Shawaal Zulfiqar, leg-spin-bowling all-rounder Syeda Aroob Shah, medium-pacer Diana Baig, bowling all-rounder Fatima Sana and all-rounder Natalia Pervaiz.
PCB women’s chief selector Saleem Jaffer noted, “Our squad for the Asian Games represents the future of women’s cricket in Pakistan. With a mix of emerging talent and seasoned campaigners, I expect the players to do well in the event.”
Pakistan’s squad for Asian Games:Nida Dar (c), Aliya Riaz, Anosha Nasir, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Muneeba Ali, Najiha Alvi, Nashra Sandhu, Nataliya Pervaiz, Omaima Sohail, Sadaf Shamas, Shawaal Zulfiqar, Sidra Ameen, Syeda Aroob Shah and Umm-e-Hani.
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