Nida Dar’s signing with the Sydney Thunder for the coming season of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League represents the first time a Pakistani woman has signed a deal with an international cricket league.
The 32-year-old Dar, fondly known in her country as ‘Lady Boom Boom’ is one of Pakistan’s most experienced campaigners and joins the Thunder with a 96 T20I and 71 ODI caps to her name.
Dar most recently proved her prowess as a dangerous allrounder in a T20I series against South Africa in May. From five fixtures, Dar scored 192 runs and took five wickets – in one instance, blasting 75 from 37 deliveries.
"It’s wonderful," said Dar, who joins the Thunder after West Indian Stafanie Taylor elected to link up with the Adelaide Strikers.
"I have dreamt that I would one day play in this amazing league, and now I have the opportunity to play for Sydney Thunder.
"This is a great thing for me, it is a great achievement to play in the WBBL. I have been following the WBBL, it is great.”
Dar is particularly proud to have the opportunity to represent her country in the WBBL and can’t to see plenty of Pakistani fans come out to support the Thunder.
"It is the very first time a woman from Pakistan has come to play in the WBBL," she said.
"I know people from Pakistan will be very proud.
"I know the people who have come from Pakistan to settle in Sydney will follow me, and that’s very exciting.”
Dar takes the third marquee spot on the Thunder roster, joining Australian vice-captain Rachael Haynes, and New Zealand keeper/batter Rachel Priest.
"Sydney Thunder need an allrounder and they want an energetic player, so I think I can offer those two things to them,” she said.
"It’s T20 cricket, so it is an attacking game and I am an attacking player. I have always wanted to excite people. I want to grab the audience.”
Sydney Thunder coach Trevor Griffin said Dar has the credentials – and class – to be a force in the WBBL.
"Nida is a fantastic signing for us," he said.
"She’s a world-class player with Pakistan and she’s going to bring a wealth of experience to Thunder.
"She’s ranked in the top five ICC players for T20 all-rounders and she’s got vast experience that will help with our young players and certainly add to the team.”
Griffin added that the dealings with Mark Coles, coach of Pakistan’s national team, throughout the signing process was a rewarding experience – and hopes that in future, Pakistani women will have more opportunities in the WBBL.
"Mark was very supportive through the whole process," said Griffin. "He stayed in regular contact, letting us know how we can best support Nida when she arrives in Sydney.
"Under Mark's tutelage we're seeing Pakistan's cricketers being exposed to some wonderful opportunities. I have no doubt we'll see more players from there play in the world's elite T20 leagues."