|Player:||Urooj Mumtaz, HASD Siriwardene, S Loubser, AE Smith|
|Event:||ICC Women's World Cup 2008/09|
Pakistan women cricket players, in Sydney for the World Cup, would continue to play the sport even if it meant doing so at neutral venues such as Abu Dhabi, captain Urooj Mumtaz Khan said. If the attack on the Sri Lankan men's team in Pakistan on Tuesday was to drive the nation into cricket isolation, the country's cricketers would still want to play, though funding would be a major concern.
The Sri Lankan and Pakistan teams lined up with others in the competition to give media conferences yesterday, chaperoned by an International Cricket Council media officer, Sami Hasan, who relayed the rules the ICC had laid down: no references to that business in Lahore.
Sri Lankan captain Shashikala Siriwardene was most concerned about her team's performance in this World Cup: right up to the mark in fielding and bowling but quite a bit of work do in batting.
Women's cricket in Sri Lanka is minuscule, with fewer than 300 players. But coach Chitral Mendis was full of optimism. The team had competed well in a tri-nations lead-up tournament with Pakistan and Bangladesh. Siriwardene got a googly from the press gallery when asked about the unifying influence of cricket on the subcontinent and how it contributes to peace. But she would not be drawn. She was not going to talk about firearms.
Other women cricketers thought any talk of a threat to women players would be drawing a long bow. Alicia Smith, who plays for South Africa and is a veteran of a tour of India in 2007, said: "I don't think with women's cricket we have any problem with security."
And they were aware that sport could not be seen in isolation from political events. The Zimbabwean women's team had entered the qualifying tournament for the World Cup but had been unsuccessful. South African captain Sunette Loubser said: "Because of the situation their nation is in at the moment, I think it is a little bit of a problem for them to focus on anything else."