Pakistan women’s cricket team captain Sana Mir finally breaks her silence after being defeated in all matches of ICC Women’s World Cup (WWC) in England last month. The captain writes an open letter on her official Facebook page in response to coach Sabih Azhar’s report, and comments made by Shahryar Khan and general manager women’s wing. “No one can have a 100% record but it’s disheartening to see a coach maligning the senior players who have been giving confidence and guidance to the youngsters for so long,” she writes.
Mir also steps down from all roles in the team and announces not to continue in future with the current setup of the Women’s Wing in any capacity.
Last month, the chairman PCB Shaharyar Khan called WWC a last chance for Sana Mir and Co. A couple of days ago, coach Sabih Azhar, who joined the team just before the big event, also submitted his report to PCB and accused Mir of being “self-centred, egotistical and being wrapped up in oneself“. The ‘supposed to be confidential’ report was leaked to media by unnamed sources. It blamed the captain of bothering about the performance of some seniors.
“The trio had the blessings of the team Manager and they didn’t spare any moment to discourage other players,” Azhar wrote in his report. “The captain always wanted that one of the three should address the press conference,” he added.
The coach also informed the board that he told the Manager a number of times that there were other players in the team who should be given an opportunity to talk to the media but the latter always discouraged the idea.
Now, according to our sources and some investigation which we did, a senior player Asmavia Iqbal and junior player Diana Baig accompanied Manager Ayesha Ashar for press conferences and not the ones who he named in his report.
Post WWC, Mir told that the coach did not stand by with the girls when they were not winning matches. It is observed that coach was not seen in any of the post media talks, the report submitted by him is full of accusations while he has not owned his own responsibilities.
There are some more points in Azhar’s report which we find contradicting to the facts but we do not want to dig more into it because none of the players performed well during WWC yet, he specially targeted some senior players, which hints some other intention.
The chairman PCB himself admitted that it was a wrong decision to change the coach at the last moment but then, who did that mistake? On whose behest was he appointed? Who should go now?
The captain who led girls in green in 72 ODIs, winning 26 of them, wrote the below open letter;
An Open Letter from Sana Mir
There is no shame in losing; there is only shame in not giving your 100%.
Sports should have taught us this lesson much earlier if we had played it in its true essence and the right spirit. Champions are made through the process of preparing and playing and the struggles they endure in their journey towards their goals. You do not become a champion only by achieving results. 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.
Of course, everyone who has watched women’s cricket and given attention to it in the last 3-4 years would have felt disappointment with our run in the World Cup 2017. We as players are gutted, too. We have also worked really hard to put up the fights we did. We feel disappointment for not crossing the line to the winning side in at least four matches of this tournament.
— Sana Mir (@mir_sana05) July 8, 2017
I would have preferred not to have had this conversation through the media, but since a confidential report by the coach, and comments by the GM of the Women’s Wing and the PCB Chairman have been making headlines, I feel obliged to give a short response to clarify some issues from my point of view.
My coordination with the coach started to suffer when I insisted on playing Diana Baig, who was in absolutely great form. That was our major disagreement. Diana is talented and was in great form in the WWC 2017.
My fight was to play a youngster in the team who was ready for international cricket. I don’t regret it.
Moreover, we suffered defeats in this World Cup as spinners with the new ball penetrated our top order consistently in each game, especially left arm spinners. We are also still short of players who can perform under pressure.
We should be talking about cricketing problems we need to address in a constructive and professional manner, rather than personalising issues.
I do want to add that journalists are free to ask our junior players about our attitude towards them. No one can have a 100% record but it’s disheartening to see a coach maligning the senior players who have been giving confidence and guidance to the youngsters for so long.
A player’s primary job is to perform. They can facilitate the growth of other players but it’s the job of the system to work on new players.
I want to make it clear that I do not intend to continue in the future with the current setup of the Women’s Wing in any capacity. Having said that, I will still be sharing a detailed report with all of you to improve women’s cricket once I get back by the end of August, In sha Allah.
I would also like to thank my family and friends who have been my strength throughout my journey.