The recently concluded ICC Women’s World T20 has unequivocally done a world of good for the women’s cricket in India. The Women in Blue had a fantastic outing in Australia as they reached the finals of the World T20 for the first time.
Invincible in the league stage, when Harmanpreet Kaur and co. defeated teams like Australia and New Zealand, India went into the semi-finals with confidence. A washed-out semi-final meant that India steered their way into the finals, courtesy their number one rank at the end of the group matches. Though the shortest format of the game was never supposed to be India’s strength, the young brigade has done well to establish themselves in the world T20 cricket. In 2018, Women’s T20 Challenge, an attempt to have a full-fledged women’s IPL, was kick-started.
Going into its third edition, it is important that more and more women cricketers in the domestic circuit get the opportunity to showcase their talent. Based on their performance at the state and national level, here are five Indian players that can be considered for Women’s T20 Challenge 2020:
Kashvee Gautam from Chandigarh made headlines as she became the first Indian to scalp all 10 wickets in limited-overs cricket. Gautam (10-12) achieved the feat in just 4.5 overs against Arunachal Pradesh in U-19 one day game that was held at KSRM College Ground in Andhra Pradesh. The 16-year old also bagged a hat-trick. The right arm seamer was on a roll in this U-19 tourney as she scalped a seven-wicket haul in a game against Jammu Kashmir before she created history against Arunachal Pradesh. Kashvee was also the leading wicket-taker in the Women’s U-23 One-day tournament.
Pooja Vastrakar is a 20-year old cricketer from Madhya Pradesh who has played six ODIs and 20 T20Is for India. The right-arm medium pace bowler made her ODI and T20 debut in February 2018. Vastrakar is known for her raw pace and has the ability to hurry the batters with her lethal bowling. Though she is yer to pocket a wicket in ODI format, Pooja has had a relatively better T20 outing with 16 wickets in 20 matches. Her best bowling figures are three wickets for six runs. Vastrakar was a part of the Indian squad that played World T20 in Australia this year. India bagged the runner up place, however, Vatsrakar did not get the opportunity in playing XI in any of the games. Having missed out on Women’s T20 challenge last year, she will be rearing to put her best forward this time around to establish herself in the team and cement her position in the playing XI.
The 16-year old from West Bengal has already played three T20Is for India. Richa Ghosh is a middle-order bat and bowls right-arm medium pace. She made her debut in February this year against Australia in the final of the Tri-Nation Women’s T20 Series that included England as well. In that match, she was sent up the order at number three where she scored a 23-ball 17, hitting two fluent boundaries. In her short stint of three T20Is, Richa has scored 49 runs, her highest score being 18 against Australia in the final of World T20 that was played on March 8. In limited opportunities that Ghosh has got, she has shown promise. Just like her other 16-year old counterpart Shafali Verma who has taken the internet and newspapers by storm, Richa Ghosh can also make it big in international cricket.
The 22-year old batting all-rounder from Pune who plays for Maharashtra is a right-hand bat who can use the long handle at will and can clear boundaries with ease. Her off-spin is more than handy and has the ability to pick up wickets. Tejal Hasabnis has represented India A and India Green and has the potential to play for the Women in Blue. In her limited domestic career so far, Hasabnis has proved her mettle and has earned the reputation of being a game-changer.
The all-rounder from Meghalaya is certainly not a bit of this a bit of that player, but a complete package that offers value with the bat as well as with the ball. Saee had a terrific season with the bat as she amassed 542 runs in nine innings during the Senior Women’s One Day Trophy. Opening the batting for Meghalaya, Purandare ensures that she lays a strong foundation for her team. Saee puts a high price on her wicket and is unequivocally a tough nut to crack. It will be interesting to see how the 27-year old fares in the shortest format of the game, if given a chance in the Women’s T20 Challenge, where she would have her encounter with international-level players.