Women Cricket

Pakistan’s golden girls proud of Asian Games triumph

“We are not the pioneers. We are just following in the footsteps of the strong women of Pakistan.”

GUANGZHOU: Pakistan’s victorious women’s cricket captain Sana Mir said Friday their historic Asian Games gold medal was welcome good news for a country where the men’s game is mired in scandal.

The emphatic 10-wicket win over Bangladesh was Pakistan’s first gold of the Games and comes amid fixing allegations swirling around the men’s team.

Pakistan, whose president congratulated the team after their victory, is recovering from catastrophic floods and has been hit by a series of devastating militant attacks over the past few years, leaving thousands dead.

“Whatever is happening in men’s cricket I don’t know how much is true and how much is false,” said Sana Mir, adding that Pakistan was not alone in having people who did not play by the rules.

“The way the women’s team has played and the way they have handled themselves on and off the field is really wonderful for Pakistanis living in Pakistan and abroad,” she said.

Sana, who took two wickets for 23 runs, said the media often focused on the problems besetting Pakistan but the nation “must be proud of us.”

“There are lot of good things happening in Pakistan and this is one of them,” she said.

Sana denied the women’s team was breaking new ground, saying it was thanks to powerful female role models such as the late former prime minister Benazir Bhutto that they were able to play cricket.

“We are not the pioneers. We are just following in the footsteps of the strong women of Pakistan,” she said.

The 24-year-old said it had become more acceptable for men to watch the women’s game and the women’s team improved by playing against under-19 and under-25 men’s teams.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari congratulated the squad, ranked number one in Asia.

Zardari described the women’s gold medal “as a gift to the nation riding on a series of crises,” spokesman Farhatullah Babar told AFP.

“The president has felicitated the team’s players, management and coaches,” Babar added.