Pakistan trailblazer Sana Mir takes a break from retirement for T20 spectacle in Dubai

Veteran off-spinner and former captain will lead South Coast Sapphires at FairBreak Invitational

Sana Mir during training with the South Coast Sapphires at the Dubai International Stadium. Photo: FairBreak Global
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The 90 players who have been selected to play in the first FairBreak Invitational in Dubai might each have reason to feel a slight sense of apprehension before their tournament debuts.

The captains might be concerned about remembering all the names of each of their new colleagues, and what exactly they all do.

Those playing in front of a global TV audience for the first time might be forgiven for feeling a little stage fright.

And for Sana Mir, she might be concerned about whether she can remember exactly what it is she is supposed to be doing, and whether to follow signs to the dressing room rather than the commentary box.

Mir ended a trailblazing career for Pakistan two years ago, and has carved out a career for herself in the media in the time since.

She will come out of retirement to lead South Coast Sapphires in the T20 tournament at Dubai International Stadium.

“It is great to be back, but at one point I thought I had forgotten how to bowl,” Mir, the former Pakistan captain and off-spinner, said.

The 36-year-old bowler will take her first steps back onto the playing field when the Sapphires face the Tornadoes in the first fixture of Day 2 of the competition in Sports City on Thursday.

She says she has been working on her fitness when commentary duties, such as at the World Cup in New Zealand in March and April, have permitted at the Shalimar Ground in Islamabad.

Players to watch

“I’ve been practicing bowling on and off for the past four months but then I went to the World Cup,” said Mir, who played over 220 international matches for Pakistan.

“So most of the training happened in Ramadan back at home in a club in Islamabad. They were kind enough to extend the use of their facilities to me, so I moved to that city, where I didn’t know anybody.

“They were very generous and I practiced with my old coach from my departmental team and focused on practicing my skills.

“The way I see it, this tournament is more about getting performances out of players and chipping in wherever I can.

“Mostly for me, it is about using the resources as best as I can. Generally as a player I always believed in quality of practice rather than quantity.”

Mir said she is happy in her retirement, even if the initial break with the sport was tough.

She has taken up golf – although she reckons she is “not good at it” – and has joined a study group reading poetry.

“The first 10 months were really tough, to be honest, but the past 12 have been great because I have started to enjoy commentary a lot,” she said.

“I have had great opportunities with PSL and with men’s domestic cricket at home in Pakistan, then with the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand. That was huge.

“And now I have developed other hobbies. When I was playing, it was only cricket. I think the balance in my life is much better now.”

Mir is one of a sizeable contingent of Pakistan players featuring in the FairBreak event, with Bismah Maroof and Fatima Sana, the ICC’s emerging cricketer of the year, also travelling for the competition.

The returning veteran says she is happy for the chance to share a dressing room with players from as diverse destinations as Kuwait, the United States and the Philippines.

“It is great to be able to share experiences with other players, not only from your own country, but from other countries, too,” Mir said.

“It gives me great satisfaction to be able to do that.”

Updated: May 04, 2022, 12:34 PM