‘Great feeling seeing Pakistan’s flag fly up,’ Mir says after new record

In this October 6, 2015 file photo, Pakistan's former captain Sana Mir (C) shakes hands with Bangladesh's Rumana Ahmed after winning the series. (AFP)
Updated 14 May 2019

‘Great feeling seeing Pakistan’s flag fly up,’ Mir says after new record

  • Bags title of most successful spin bowler in women’s one day international cricket history
  • Calls it a 'huge moment' but insists couldn't have done it without team

LAHORE: Sana Mir, a former skipper of the Pakistan women’s cricket team, said on Monday becoming the most successful spin bowler in the history of women’s one day international (ODI) cricket was a “huge moment” for her, but insisted she couldn’t have done it without her team.

On Sunday, off-spinner Mir took her 147th wicket during the third ODI of the ICC Women's Cricket Championship, setting a new record by dismissing Sune Luus from South Africa. The title of world’s most successful women’s ODI spinner was previously held by an old hero of Mir’s, Lisa Sthalekar of Australia, who Mir said had called to congratulate her on the new record.

“Sthalekar was an inspiration when I played my first world cup in 2009,” Mir told Arab News by telephone from South Africa. “This is a huge moment for me. I’ve always looked up to her.”

“I’ve been getting messages from cricketers all over the globe,” Mir said, saying Jhulan Goswami, the world’s leading wicket-taker from India, and South African cricketer Mignon du Preez, were among the international players who had reached out to congratulate her. “Everyone has been very kind.”

Mir, the daughter of an army officer, started out playing street cricket when she was five years old, learning from her elder brother and his friends. She made her ODI debut against Sri Lanka in late 2005, just days before her 20th birthday and returned wicket-less. In 2017, she became the first Pakistani woman to play in 100 one-day international matches. In October last year, she also became the first Pakistan bowler to top ICC rankings.

In August 2017, Mir resigned as the skipper of the national team after the conclusion of the ICC Women’s World Cup in England. She is currently playing in the ICC championship, a qualifying tournament for the 2021 World Cup.

“It’s a great feeling seeing Pakistan’s flag fly up,” Mir said. “We are breaking one barrier at a time. This must be God’s way of showing me he’s holding me up for my hard work and sincerity towards this sport.”

But in a manner that has become typical of Mir since her ascent in international sports, she insists that the win is all about the team.

“When you take wickets, it’s a team effort,” she said. “You can only take wickets when somebody takes your catches, when somebody puts pressure on the other team. Without that, you can’t create any records.”

British Airways to resume Pakistan flights next week after a decade

Updated 23 May 2019

British Airways to resume Pakistan flights next week after a decade

  • BA halted service to Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad
  • BA will begin the London Heathrow-Islamabad service with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

ISLAMABAD: British Airways will resume flights to Pakistan next week a decade after it suspended operations following a major hotel bombing, becoming the first Western airline to restart flights to the South Asian country.

BA halted service to Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in the capital Islamabad that took place during a period of devastating Islamist militant violence in Pakistan.

Security has since improved, with militant attacks sharply down in the mainly Muslim country of 208 million people, reviving Pakistan as a destination for tourist and investors.

“The final touches are coming together for the airline’s return ahead of the first flight on Sunday June 2,” British Airways said in a statement. It will launch a three-per-week service to London Heathrow, it said.

“We’re on board,” Pakistani Civil Aviation spokeswoman Farah Hussain said about the flights resumption.

BA, which is owned by Spanish-registered IAG, will begin the London Heathrow-Islamabad service with the airline’s newest long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

At present, only loss-making national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flies directly from Pakistan to Britain, but its ageing fleet of planes is a frequent source of complaints by passengers.

Middle Eastern carriers Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates have a strong presence in Pakistan and have been eating into PIA’s dwindling market share. Turkish Airlines also lays on a regular service to Pakistan.

Islamabad has been running international advertising campaigns to rejuvenate its tourism sector, which was wiped out by Islamist violence that destabilised the country following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

“We hope customers in both the UK and Pakistan will enjoy the classically British service we offer, with thoughtful bespoke touches,” Andrew Brem, Chief Commercial Officer at British Airways, said in BA’s statement.

BA said there will be a halal meal option in every cabin and the airline would also ensure sauces in every meal do not contain alcohol or pork.