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Virat Kohli has a fan in Pakistan women's cricket team

Virat Kohli has a fan in Pakistan women's cricket team

Not for his good looks but for his cricket, Pakistan batsman Bismah Maroof is a fan of Virat Kohli and wants to model her game on India's Test captain.

Not for his good looks but for his cricket, Pakistan batsman Bismah Maroof is a fan of Virat Kohli and wants to model her game on India's Test captain.

The 24-year-old Maroof played a key role in her team's victory over Bangladesh in the recent T20I and ODI series, which marked a successful return of women's international cricket to Pakistan after almost a decade.

In an interview to Dawn.com, Maroof said watching Kohli, Suresh Raina and Australia captain Michael Clarke bat helps her get better in shot selection and the art of building an innings.

"My batting style is natural but I'm mostly inspired by right-handed players. I am a huge fan of Michael Clarke and watching and learning from players like Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli helps me improve my shot selection and construct my innings," she said.

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Left-handed Maroof scored 109 and 133 runs in the T20Is and ODIs, respectively, against Bangladesh in Karachi, which won her three back-to-back Man-of-the-Match awards. She also rolls her arm over as a legspinner, which increases her value to the team as an allrounder.

Member of the 2010 Asian Games gold-medal winning team, Maroof said playing at home brought the team a lot of joy.

"It was indeed a great experience to play at home. We were successful at the Asian games too but we felt sad about not being able to show our abilities to our fans at home. It was heartening to see young students in the Southend Club stands but it would have been better if more families came to watch us," she said.

She reckoned the Asian Games success was the turning point for Pakistan's women cricket.

"There has been a notable difference since my debut in 2006 till now. I think that the gold medal we won in the 2010 Asian Games was the turning point for us and it made people believe in the potential of women's cricket in the country. This success made people recognise us and more girls came started dreaming of playing cricket for their country confident about their future," Maroof told Dawn.

However, Maroof feels the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) needs to do a lot more about women's cricket in the country.

"We think that that there should be a separate national academy for female cricketers and more grounds should be built around the country, particularly for women, which would help the cricketing culture grow amongst women. As of now we do feel left behind.

"To encourage women to engage in cricketing activity and keeping them motivated, it's necessary for the authorities to make the profession more lucrative. Women deserve increment in pay with time as much as male cricketers," she told.

But undaunted, Maroof says she accepts every challenge that comes way, and her next assignment will arrive when the team tours West Indies.

"We will go to West Indies with full preparations as we just got to play competitive cricket against Bangladesh and attended a training camp before that. As far as my personal performances are concerned, I believe in accepting challenges and I will try to carry on my form in West Indies too," she said.

first published:October 08, 2015, 10:32 IST