Allrounder Nida Dar has wasted no time in putting her experience of the WBBL to good use as Pakistan prepare to begin their T20 World Cup campaign.
Dar became the first Pakistan player to appear in the competition as part of the Sydney Thunder side in this year’s tournament, where she had 11 matches, claiming 13 wickets at 16.92 – the best average in the team – and an economy rate 6.87.
In a young Pakistan side, Dar was always going to be a vital component of their T20 World Cup campaign – a tournament where they have never got out of the first round – but that inside knowledge of Australian conditions has made her a go-to person as the squad gets ready to face West Indies in Canberra.
“As a senior player I need to share everything I have,” she said. “All my team-mates are always asking me about the BBL experience and Australian conditions. I have given a lot of tips and things to try. The girls are very keen to learn everything because some of them are very new and it’s their first experience in Australia. What we need to do is gel as a unit.”
As her team-mates are now doing, Dar spent the WBBL trying to take in as much as she could from the experience of mixing with some of the best players in the game and a group of elite coaches. However, despite the information collected during her stint early in the season, Dar believes conditions for the World Cup have altered after a long, hot summer followed by recent heavy rain – especially on the east coast – which also impacted a preparation camp Pakistan had in Queensland.
“The main thing I focused on was what could I grab from here, the experience from different coaches and ideas from different people,” she said. “I had experienced players with me, Rachael Haynes, Shabnim Ismail, Rachel Priest so there were different ideas from different players and the experience I took from the BBL was very nice. But now after so much rain the conditions have changed.”
Ultimately, West Indies were comfortable winners against Thailand in their opening game although they did have some nervous moments early the chase when they slipped to 27 for 3. Pakistan know what to expect from a side that likes to hit boundaries and will be preying on that eagerness to put bat to ball.
“We know the strengths of West Indies, they are power hitters, and want to show their skills all the time, so we need to be very strong with our nerves,” Dar said. “Variation could be helpful for us and it’s these kinds of things that we can learn, maybe West Indies are trying to hit hard a lot, but maybe against us they will try to rotate the strike.”
Pakistan are the last team to get their World Cup underway – Australia, India and Sri Lanka have already played twice – but have spent the time wisely trying to gain as much insight as they can from the early matches that have unfolded. Dar is confident Pakistan’s spin attack, of which she is a key element, will be able to have a significant say in the tournament.
“It was nice to watch the matches, we were learning from them, we know the Australian pitches but the behaviour of the wickets has really changed. After watching the games we need to adapt, [the totals] are not big totals, they are very chaseable, but some teams are defending them. The spinners are working really hard over here and are good on these types of pitches.
“We know our strengths, the girls are very skilful. We have a bunch of very talented players. They want to play against the best teams. We just want to show our skills.”