Fans divided over Richa Ghosh and Shafali Verma’s inclusion in U19 Squad for World Cup

The BCCI recently announced the Indian squad for the inaugural ICC U-19 Women’s World Cup which will be held in South Africa in January 2023. The squad bears a similar look to the team that is engaged in the ongoing series against the U19 New Zealand Development Squad but there were two names that stand out. Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh. Infact Shafali Verma has also been chosen to lead the contingent.

Shafali Verma - Female Cricketer
Shafali Verma – Female Cricketer

 

Both Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh have already represented the Indian Women’s senior team. And they’ve been a part of that team for quite a while now. Shafali has played all three formats and has 69 caps at the highest level already. Ghosh herself has 42 games behind her and the two of them together have an enormous amount of experience. Their selections have brought mixed responses from fans, pundits, and ex-cricketers.

18-year-old Richa Ghosh eyeing her maiden Women's World Cup tournament
18-year-old Richa Ghosh eyeing her maiden U19 Women’s World Cup tournament

 

Yes, the idea is to win the tournament but it was a great opportunity to send two new faces and expand the talent pool. The general perception is that the inclusion of the two players will bolster the Indian side but it could have a negative impact as well. The group of U-19 players has performed quite well over the last few months and the combinations too must have been decided. Now the eleventh-hour inclusion of Verma and Ghosh might call for a change in plans. Last minute changes in plans aren’t really a great idea and if anyone, it is the BCCI that will know this really well.

This move could also have a negative impact on those who have been left out in order to accommodate them. It is worth noting that Shikha Shalot, who is serving as the vice-captain in the ongoing rubber against the Kiwis, has now been relegated to the reserves. Hrishita Basu is the incumbent wicketkeeper in the series but Ghosh’s selection may now affect her spot as well.

The decision to appoint Verma as the captain could have repercussions too. As mentioned, Verma has been around the international scene for a while. The age group may be the same but the experience and seniority in terms of performance and stature may have an impact on the vibe around the group.

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The one positive side to their selections is the fact that the senior Women’s T20 World Cup is due to be held in February and this tournament will also be played in the Rainbow Nation. What this means is that Verma and Ghosh will have ample opportunities to get acclimatized to the conditions, which in turn will help them bring their A-game to the senior World Cup. Only the selectors can tell whether this was a consideration or not but if it was, maybe the BCCI could have avoided tampering with the existing balance of the U-19 team.

India U19 Women’s team for ICC Under 19 Women’s World Cup –

Shafali Verma (Captain), Shweta Sehrawat (Vice-Captain), Richa Ghosh (WK), G Trisha, Soumya Tiwari, Sonia Mehdiya, Hurley Gala, Hrishita Basu (WK), Sonam Yadav, Mannat Kashyap, Archana Devi, Parshavi Chopra, Titas Sadhu, Falak Naz, Shabnam MD.

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