Under-19 Women's World Cup: Pakistan Team Preview

The side led by Aroob Shah will get their campaign underway from 15th January after two warm-ups on the 9th and 11th.

The first edition of the Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup is set to start on the 14th of January. Sixteen teams divided across four groups will play at four different venues in South Africa before the country hosts the Women’s T20 World Cup in February. Let us take a look at Pakistan’s preparations for the U-19 World Cup and the squad composition.

Preparations for the World Cup

Age-group cricket for women has not been among the priorities of PCB. There is no regular Under-19 tournament, particularly in recent years. With no proper structure and pathway for aspiring female cricketers, open trials become a convenient way to induct more players into the pool. To increase this pool of women cricketers, PCB and the six cricket associations conducted nationwide trials in May 2022. More than a hundred under-19 players were selected during these trials. Later in August, U-19 T20 Women Tournament was held, the first age-group tournament for women since 2020. This was also the first and only women’s tournament based on the six-teams structure. Two of the five group-stage matches of each side were abandoned due to rain and wet outfield in this tournament.

Central Punjab Women U-19s tournament-winning squad. Nine of these are part of Pakistan’s 15-member World Cup squad. Credits PCB

The U-19 tournament was followed by two training camps, including the probable players for the World Cup. The first 13-day camp started at the end of September with 26 players. This number was reduced to 22 in the second 9-day camp held in November. For more match practice, a team consisting of only U-19 players participated in Phase I of the Women’s T20 Tournament at the end of November. The 15-member squad of this team, named Conquerors, was the same as the later-announced World Cup squad. Six players from the squad also played in Phase II of this tournament. Before the departure to South Africa, the last camp and practice games were held in Karachi.

One of the important things lacking in these preparations was that there were no bilateral matches for the U-19 side. Their first game against any other country’s team would be the two warm-up matches before they start their World Cup journey on the 15th of January. Several other teams have played at least one series against other U-19 teams participating in the World Cup.

For example, in India, after the U-19 T20 Trophy (inter-state domestic competition) and the U-19 T20 Challenger Trophy (in which four U-19 sides participated), the India A and B sides took on the Women’s U-19 teams of Sri Lanka and West Indies in the Quadrangular T20 Series. This was followed by a 5-match series against New Zealand. Lastly, they played an away series against the World Cup hosts South Africa, which was also an opportunity for the Indian side to access the playing conditions in the country. PCB could have also organized similar series to provide more match practice to the players.

Introduction to the Squad

A group photo of the squad before their departure to South Africa. Credits PCB


Shawaal Zulfiqar, Eyman Fatima, Warda Yousaf, Aliza Sabir

Shawaal and Eyman were Central Punjab’s openers in the U-19 Women’s Tournament and played a key role in winning the title. Shawaal, who led CP U-19, was declared the best batter of the tournament. She was also the top run-scorer in the Women T20 Tournament Phase-I. Eyman had the most number of sixes in the U-19 tournament and was the Player of the Final. Warda Yousaf batted at number 3 for Central Punjab U-19 and was the 4th-top run-scorer in the tournament. She will most likely start in the XI, whereas Aliza Sabir will provide a backup batter option. (Tidbit: Aliza Sabir is also a professional footballer and has represented Pakistan Women’s U-16 side. She was also a part of the recently announced 34-member squad for the Women’s National Football Team Camp.)


Zamina Tahir


Aroob Shah, Anoosha Nasir, Rida Aslam, Laiba Nasir, Mahnoor Aftab, Quratulain Ahsen

Aroob Shah, who is leading the side, is the only player in the squad to have represented Pakistan Women in international cricket. Like her favorite cricketers, Rashid Khan, Shadab Khan, and Amelia Kerr, Aroob is also an all-rounder who bowls leg spin. Aroob led Sindh to the final in the U-19 Tournament and was the Player of the Tournament. With the ball, she conceded only 1.12 runs per over (tournament avg: 4.96) while scoring at a strike rate of 180 (tournament avg: 65.5). She also finished as the top wicket-taker in the Women’s T20 Tournament Phase-I.

In the same tournament, the left-arm spinner Anoosha Nasir was only behind Aroob in the number of wickets. In Phase II of the same tournament, she was also among the top 3 bowlers. Anoosha is among the most consistent performers in the domestic circuit. With the joint-most number of wickets in the Women’s Pakistan Cup 2021, she was declared the Emerging Player of the Tournament. She was also the best bowler in the U-18 Women’s T20 Championship 2019. While Anoosha’s batting isn’t her strength in the senior-level tournaments, she has scored some runs at the U-19 level and might come to bat in the middle order.

Pakistan’s spin attack is further strengthened by the presence of left-arm wrist-spinner Rida Aslam. She had the third-most number of wickets in the U-19 tournament and played an important role in Central Punjab’s victory. Another CP wrist-spinner, Quratulain Ahsen, is a leggie and won the Bowler of the Tournament award. Laiba Nasir, who looks up to Nida Dar, is an all-rounder and provides an off-spin bowling option. Mahnoor Aftab is the other off-spinner in the squad.