Former Pakistan captain and an iconic individual for Pakistani Women’s Cricket Sana Mir announced her retirement from International Cricket earlier today.
The off spinner, who served her country for 15-years, made her international debut in 2005. She went on to take 151 wickets at an average of 24.27 in 120 ODIs and 89 wickets at 23.42 in 106 T20Is. Other than that, she also proved to be a decent lower order batswoman, scoring 1630 runs in ODIs at 17.91 and 802 in T20Is at 14.07.
In a statement, the former Pakistani captain who lead her country in 72 ODIs and 65 T20Is had the following to say.
“Last few months have provided me with an opportunity to contemplate. I feel it is the right time for me to move on. I believe I have contributed to the best of my ability for my country and the sport.”
“When I reflect on my debut, it gives me great satisfaction that I have been part of the process that has eventually resulted in a packed-to-capacity Lord’s for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 final, something that was further boosted by a record 87,000 spectators for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. These are great success stories for women’s cricket.”
She also went on to express her gratitude towards her family and coaches and her domestic Cricket team, saying that she is looking forward to serving them in the future.
“I also want to thank my family and mentors who provided unconditional support that allowed me to fulfil my dreams of representing Pakistan at a global stage and would also like to thank my departmental team ZTBL for their support throughout my career. I look forward to continue serving them if department cricket continues,” the two time Asian games gold winner said.
Mir also tweeted about the same this afternoon, which read, “Words fall short when I want to thank you all for the love,support & encouragement in the past 15 yrs. It has been an honor to serve Pak & don the green Jersey with absolute pride. It is time for me to move on. IA the service will continue in a different form. PakistanZindabad.”
Wasim Khan, PCB’s CEO, lauded Mir for her contribution to Pakistan Cricket and paid his tribute by saying, “On behalf of Pakistan cricket, I congratulate Sana Mir on a highly successful career. She has been the face of Pakistan women’s cricket for many years and the real source of inspiration for the young generation of women cricketers.”
“Through her determination and passion, Sana broke the glass ceiling for women cricketers in the country. Through her performances, she not only improved the profile of women’s cricket in Pakistan, but also enhanced the image of Pakistan globally. Sana is a true legend of women’s cricket who attracted, inspired and motivated young women athletes. Moving forward, I am sure she will continue to contribute positively to women’s cricket.”
Back in 2004, when she was 17 and preparing for her chemistry exam, her mother showed her a magazine article about the Pakistan women’s cricket team featuring Kiran Baluch who had broken a world record, the highest individual score by a woman in Test Cricket, 242 against the West Indies. At the end of the article was the address of the Khan sisters, Sharmeen and Shaiza, the pioneers of the women’s game in Pakistan, and a call for any aspiring women cricketers to get in touch.
That was where her journey of becoming Pakistan’s first female Cricketing superstar began. She went for trials at the given address where Baluch herself padded up to face her. She used to bowl fast when she started playing, modelling her action on Waqar Younis. Amidst the trouble between IWCC’s merger with the ICC, Mir was called up for trials by the PCB soon after, and was a part of the national team.
In 2005, she burst into the International scene in the Asia Cup against India, at Lahore in spectacular fashion, claiming Mithali Raj’s wicket with a brutal inswinging yorker that uprooted leg stump. Her fast bowling career was short lived as she suffered from what could have been a career ending stress fracture a few months later. Remodeling her action completely didn’t help either. Despite retaining her place in the national side due to her batting prowess, she did not want to give up on her bowling, so she switched to spin bowling, thanks to years of playing street cricket in the streets of Taxila in the evening with a plastic ball, which also helped her develop a three fingered unconventional grip, something that brought her success in the bigger stage.
She was named captain of the Pakistan side aged 23, replacing Urooj Mumtaz in 2009. From that year on, Mir was consistently among the top 20 ODI bowlers. But although she consistently performed well, she increasingly found herself the target of criticism when her team failed to achieve success against other teams. The criticism was not as much about the performances of the Cricketers but mostly about their way of living. Tackling such criticisms, Mir kept on leading her team until 2017, when she handed over the reigns to left handed top order batswoman Bismah Maroof. She contemplated retiring from the game in a few months, but instead, her performances with ball in hand improved day after day, and by the end of 2018, at the age of 32, Sana Mir was listed as the number 1 ranked bowler by the ICC in One Day Internationals.