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Relationship with coach suffered after I played Diana Baig in WC, Sana Mir says

Relationship with coach suffered after I played Diana Baig in WC, Sana Mir says

Pakistan women's cricket team skipper Sana Mir in an open letter shared on Facebook on Thursday said that her relationship with the team coach suffered when she insisted on playing Diana Baig in the Women World Cup.

Mir's letter follows coach Sabih Azhar's allegations that the skipper, along with the team's coach and other senior players, was responsible for the team's dismal performance in the ICC Women's World Cup in England this year.

In a leaked post-World Cup report submitted to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Azhar accused Sana of adopting a "negative approach" and of being completely self-obsessed during the mega event. He added that team manager Ayesha Ashar paid most of her attention to senior players — Mir, Javeria Khan and Nain Abidi — and was "cold" towards the younger players.

While making it clear that she would rather have had this conversation with the coach and team management personally, Mir said that she had resorted to writing the open letter after "a confidential report by the coach and comments by the general manager of the women wing and chairman PCB have been making headlines."

Responding to Azhar's allegations, Mir said, "Journalists are free to ask junior players about our attitude towards them. No one can have a 100 per cent [clean] record but it's disheartening to see a coach maligning the senior players who have been giving confidence and guidance to youngsters for so long."

In the report, Azhar alleged that Mir was "negative in her approach" and that she "inculcated fear among other team members during team meetings".

"Eventually, the captain’s negative approach did damage the confidence of our batters and bowlers and they couldn’t play their natural game during matches," Azhar said.

Mir, in her rebuttal, said her "coordination with the coach suffered" when she insisted on playing a 'talented youngster' Diana Baig "who was in absolutely great form".

"That was our major disagreement... My fight was to play a youngster in the team who is ready for international cricket. I don't regret it," she asserted.

"Moreover, we suffered defeats in this World Cup as spinners with the new ball penetrated our top order consistently in each game, specially left-arm spinners. We are also still short of players who can perform under pressure," she explained.

"We should be talking about cricketing problems we need to address in a constructive and professional manner, rather than personalising issues," she observed.

She went on to say that although she is not a perfect captain "or that we are the perfect team, but I would have appreciated it if the coach would have stood by the team like other coaches did."

"I want to make it clear I don't intend to continue in the future with the current setup of the women’s wing in any capacity," Mir stated.

Reminding the nation of a vital lesson learnt from sportsmanship, she said, "There is no shame in losing; there is only shame in not giving [the game] your 100 per cent [effort]."

She added: "Sports should have taught us this lesson much earlier if we had played it in its true essence and the right spirit."

"A champion is an individual who can get back up from one failure to face the next challenge; who is ready to analyse and improve him/herself and is ready to work harder next time."

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