Iqbal Imam, the former Pakistan first-class cricketer, has been appointed batting coach for the national women’s side ahead of the three-match one-day international series against South Africa.

The ODIs are part of the ICC Women’s Championship, where Pakistan are sixth at the moment. Iqbal will take over from Andy Richards, who had joined the team as an assistant coach and batting consultant back in July 2018.

“Iqbal is a hardworking and committed batting coach who fits perfectly in the PCB’s vision for women’s cricket, which is to provide them with skilled individuals who will add significant value to both their development and performances,” said Wasim Khan, the PCB managing director.

Iqbal has had a strong impact on many players in the Pakistan domestic circuit, most notably on Sharjeel Khan, who has made 41 international appearances. He has also been an assistant coach for the men’s A and under 19 teams, as well as the women’s under 17 side. He featured in 147 first-class games and 115 List A matches as a player.

Pakistan first lock horns with South Africa in three ODIs, the first of which will be played in Potchefstroom on 6 May. The ODI series will be followed by five Twenty20 Internationals.

Pakistan are currently ranked seventh in the MRF Tyres ICC Team Rankings in both formats of the game. They will go into the South Africa tour with confidence, having recently clinched the ODI series against West Indies 2-1.

“The tour to South Africa is an important one as our team will like to build on their success against the Windies and move up the [ICC Women’s Championship] points table,” said Khan. “In addition to this, this challenging tour also provides a chance for the Pakistan girls to prepare for next year’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020.”

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