Sana Mir, the former captain of Pakistan, has achieved a rare milestone in her 14-year long International Career with the 100 T20I appearances. 

Cricket has given many legends all over the world since it’s beginning. Sana Mir is one of them. In a country where women’s cricket was not that much popular in later 80s, Mir had started at the age of three and the 1992 World Cup did the rest of the job.

In 1992, Pakistan had won the ICC Cricket World Cup and the thrill of playing for the country didn’t spare Sana Mir. The cricket bug had bit her too, along with the fast bowling; which became popular at that time. Follower of Waqar Younis for the particular liking of the long run-up, she gave up engineering, a safe career than playing cricket in the 90s.

She used to make field setting with the electrons and neutrons on her chemistry notes to become the no. 1 bowler in the ICC ODI Bowling ranking in 2018, the journey was tough as well as inspiring. Having started with the gully cricket, she made her ODI debut in 2005. She was one of the nine debutants for Pakistan to play against Ireland.

Though her debut match went wicketless, she picked up India captain Mithali Raj in the second game. Pakistan were thrashed by India in that match. Even after making an impression with the ball, Mir got a big blow in her life. She got injured in her back which forced her to change her action. At one point, she was even asked to quit due to injury but her urge of playing kept her going.

Also Read: 10 amazing facts about women cricket

Mir didn’t have a cricket team in her school. She used to lead the basketball team, swimming team etc. which gave her the confidence of being a leader. Started performing in every match, she found her among the top 20 bowlers in the ICC Bowlers’ Rankings. No other player from the team could achieve that at that time.

She made her T20I debut against Ireland at Dublin on May 25, 2009. Prior to the ICC World T20, on 4th May 2009, she was named the captain of the team after the then captain Urooj Mumtaz stepped down from the captaincy. In the World Cup press conference, she was asked why did she come here and she confidently replied to win the tournament in her first ever press conference as a captain.

Prior to the big event, Pakistan had played hardly one or two T20 matches. Everyone was shocked because Pakistan was just qualified then. But, somehow her confidence at that time helped her to become one of the best captains as well as players in the world. She has missed only two T20I matches due to injury since her debut in the shortest format.

Sana became the sixth cricketer to feature in 100 T20I matches. The all-rounder of West Indies, Deandra Dottin has played 109 T20I matches has topped the list. From Pakistan, only Shoaib Malik has reached the 100-mark as he has played 110 T20I matches; while Shahid Afridi has played 99 matches so far. Former India captain MS Dhoni and India T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur, both have appeared in 93 matches and Rohit Sharma has played 89 matches till date.

Mir’s 100th T20I match would be memorable for her as Pakistan won the game by 12 runs against West Indies but they couldn’t win the series. Sana Mir bagged three wickets in the three-match T20I series.

In 2013, Mir became the first woman cricketer to win the ‘PCB Woman cricketer of the Year Award’. In the same year, with a not-so-mature team, she led Pakistan to a one-run victory over England for the very first time in any format and continued their winning streak for the 11 matches in a row. Six players had featured in the ICC top 20 players ranking for their eye-catching performances after the end of the tour.

She was the first Pakistan captain either in men or women, to defeat India in an ICC tournament. In the 2010 Asian Games, the team won the gold medal under her captaincy. She was also the captain of the team during their first ever tournament victory in both the T20I and ODI against Sri Lanka in 2011. Pakistan had qualified for the 2012 World T20 and 2013 Women’s World Cup under her captaincy. Pakistan were also able to beat South Africa for the first time ever.

Though Pakistan had a forgettable campaign in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, they bounced back against New Zealand in the ICC Championship series in November 2017. Mir had to step down from the captaincy after the 2017 World Cup but as an all-rounder, she has been playing the key roles like always.

She took a four-wicket haul against New Zealand which helped them to register their maiden ODI win against them. Not only that, her another two 4-wicket hauls against Sri Lanka in March 2018 guided Pakistan to register a clean sweep of the ODI series.

Her 5/32 in ODI against the Netherlands in 2010 is the best figure so far whereas she has two 4-wicket hauls in T20Is. Her 4/13 against Ireland came in 2009 while the next 4/13 came against India in 2012. However, Pakistan won the match against Ireland but against India, they didn’t win; which was the final of the Asia Cup in 2012.

Not only a successful bowler, but she has also played important roles as a batter too. During the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2017, on Jul 8, at Taunton, she walked into bat against White Ferns when Pakistan were struggling after the three wickets loss in quick succession. She anchored the innings, played a captain’s knock there and scored 50 off 86.

And, who can forget her fielding skill? Her astonishing mid-wicket catch sent India T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur in the pavilion during their match against India in the ICC Women’s World Cup, 2017. Sana Mir has become the first ever female cricketer from Pakistan to be awarded the ‘Tamgha-e-Imtiaz’ on March 23, 2012, for her services in cricket.

Apart from on the field, she is an amazing person off the field too. Recently, in an advertisement, she fought against body shaming. One of the most admired and celebrated athletes in Pakistan, Sana Mir keeps continuing to inspire the girls all around the world.

Who knows, maybe the best is yet to come…?

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