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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 February, 2005, 09:29 GMT
Leading the new generation
By Jamie Lillywhite

Kiran Baluch
Baluch's innings put Pakistan in control of the match

News of the Pakistan Cricket Board's decision to set up a National Women's Championship is music to the ears of Kiran Baluch.

She has been part of two remarkable records during her short international career.

The first took place in 1997, with the Pakistan team having the dubious distinction of defeat by 408 runs, a record margin at international level.

In the summer of 2004, though, she made the record books on her own with the highest women's Test score of 242.

But as the 26-year-old Pakistan Women's Cricket Control Association chief executive told BBC Sport, both events have had an impact on the way the game has developed in her country.

The record defeat was against New Zealand in Christchurch.

A fledgling Pakistan outfit were already one down in the two-match series, having been bowled out for 56 and beaten by 10 wickets.

Back at the Hagley Oval the next day, they ran into the highest one-day international score in history as New Zealand amassed an astonishing 455-5 from their 50 overs.

"We had just formed in September 1996 and it was required by the International Women's Cricket Council that we played three one-day internationals to qualify for the World Cup," Baluch recalls.

"But facilities, grounds and coaches were denied to us in Pakistan so that is one of the main reasons why we did so badly."

In true cricket official style, the purposeful Baluch insisted that not all memories of that day were horrific ones.

"Initially it was like the game was never-ending, it seemed to go on forever. Nevertheless it was good experience for us."

A short tour of Australia followed which brought no respite as Pakistan were bowled out for 23, with Baluch one of four players who failed to score.

When I'm not playing I'm in the office and when I'm not in the office I'm at the ground, so it's cricket all round
Kiran Baluch

The team slowly gained a competitive streak, claiming their first victory by one wicket against the Netherlands in Karachi in 2001, and going on to win that series 4-3.

They were beaten 6-0 in Sri Lanka in 2002 and 5-2 by West Indies in early 2004, but then came a one-off Test against the West Indians in Karachi.

Now established as an opener, Baluch had made runs in all but one of the one-day games, although her top score had been 61.

But in the longer version of the game she showed technique and patience as she plundered 242 from 488 balls, including 38 boundaries.

"I got a lot of coverage for that," she said.

"We have recently been holding trials for the women's team and more than 50 girls turned up here, only because they heard about the record.

"It is a great achievement for our team that we have managed to create such a big amount of interest amongst these girls."

And as Baluch added, she is constantly trying to publicise the women's game, both on and off the field.

"When I'm not playing I'm in the office and when I'm not in the office I'm at the ground, so it's cricket all round."




SEE ALSO
Pakistan Women pull out
13 Jul 03 |  Cricket
Baluch sets women's record
17 Mar 04 |  Cricket



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