The PCB is set to launch an Under-19 women’s T20 tournament, which will be contested by six regional associations starting on August 13. Lahore Country Club, Muridke, will be the venue for the 10-day round-robin tournament, which offers a platform to 84 players in all, with 15 reserve players on standby.
The PCB hopes to use the tournament to “create a strong talent pool” in the country, with one eye on the inaugural U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa next year.
Only players born on or after September 1, 2003, are eligible for the tournament. ESPNcricinfo understands that the top performers will be bumped up into the senior sides of the national T20 and one-day domestic tournaments.
The pathway to Pakistan’s senior women’s team had till now been vague, with no lines going down to the grassroots level, meaning a pool of only 30-35 competitive cricketers at the senior level. Women cricketers in the country had, till now, two tournaments: three teams each playing the National T20 and ODI Challenge Cups.
This Under-19 tournament looks to offer a more concrete pathway to senior cricket, with squads having been selected after country-wide open trials, followed by practice games among the selected players across the PCB-run women’s regional academies.
This is not the first time, though, that the PCB is organising junior cricket for women. Between 2004 and 2008, the PCB conducted an annual U-17 tournament. That was replaced by an U-19 tournament between 2009 and 2013. All women’s tournaments at the youth level were disbanded in 2013, though, due to a policy shift.
The participating squads are:
Central Punjab U-19: Shawal Zulfiqar (capt), Areesha Noor, Eyman Fatima, Farah Imran, Haleema Azeem Dar, Haleema Dua, Jaweria Ali, Komal Khan, Laiba Nasir, Noor Fatima, Quratulain Ahsen, Rida Aslam, Warda Yousaf and Zamina Tahir Chugtai
Balochistan U-19: Humaira Ghulam Hussain (capt), Alisha Aslam, Aman Fatima, Amina Javed, Azra Habibullah, Dura-E-Nayab, Fakhra Abdullah, Fiza Noor, Kalsoom Kakar, Madhur Moolani, Misha Kareem, Ruqia Nazar, Shakira Ahmed and Shamim Amirullah
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa U-19: Zaibunisa Niaz (capt), Aleesha Khan, Aliza Khan, Bakhtawar Arifullah, Gule Nayab, Hansa Zair Gul, Humaira Husain, Jalwa Anwar, Javeria Qamar, Mahnoor Aftab, Malaika Afridi, Sumbal Liaquat, Tayyaba Imdad and Tehzeeb Shah
Northern U-19: Maham Anees (capt), Fatima Sardar, Hadia Mushtaq, Kainat Riasat, Laiba Mubashar, Maheen Irfan, Malaika Noor, Mariyam Shehzadi, Muskan Abid, Noor Fatima, Rida Ashfaq, Sarah Jan Peter, Syeda Hania Zehra and Tahira Malik
Sindh U-19: Aroob Shah (capt), Abeera Kaleem, Aliza Sabir, Anosha Nasir, Dina Razvi, Eman Adeel, Farhia Fahim, Haniah Ahmer, Kainat Eman Shah, Khizra Rani, Sara Fatima, Taskeen Fatima, Tooba Khan and Wasfa Hussain
Southern Punjab U-19: Aqsa Hafeez (capt), Anam Bibi, Aqsa Yousaf, Eman Fatima, Javeria Asharaf, Javeria Siddique, Laila Manzoor, Muqadas Bukhari, Rimsha Shehzadi, Sahar Fatima, Sana Khan, Sania Mazhar, Shameer Rajpoot and Uzma Iqbal