What does Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh’s inclusion to India’s U19 World Cup Squad mean?

The upcoming, inaugural edition of the International Cricket Council (ICC) organized, Women’s Under-19 Twenty20 (T20) World Cup, isn’t far from its start and the Broad of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced its squad for the tournament which sees the All-India Women’s Selection Committee continuing on its trend of handing surprises.

Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh. PC: Getty Images
Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh. PC: Getty Images

 

In expected lines, top faces who emerged from the domestic season namely; Shweta Sehrawat, G Trisha, Soumya Tiwari, Sonia Mehdiya, Hurley Gala, Titas Sadhu, and many more have all deservingly found places in the 15+3, but with the board continuing on its trend of surprising fans a couple picks from the senior team in Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh to the U19 squad have come at the cost of a couple of deserving names, worthy of being in the 15 who now are demoted to the standby list.

India’s squad for the ICC U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 :

Shafali Verma (C), Shweta Sehrawat (VC), 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

Standby – Shikha, Najla CMC, Yashashree

What do shocking inclusions mean for pre-existing 1st picks?

Senior women’s team player, Shafali Verma, in the T20I format in 46 innings has edged past the 1000 runs mark. She, in the format averages 24.24, has got a strike rate of 134.52 and has the highest score of 73. Being a part-time bowler, in 9 innings, she’s also bagged 5 wickets.

18-year-old, Shafali Verma (18 y/o) has been handed over the captaincy duties of the India U-19 squad for the mega ICC event on the back of zero domestic cricket experience with the U-19 bunch who’ve dedicatedly been competing fiercely and were exceedingly well led by Shweta Sehrawat who has her dreams now shattered of leading India in the World Cup post domestic success.

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Richa Ghosh is another from the senior India team who’s roped in to win the inaugural edition of the U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup and she comes in with 20 T20I games experience wherein she’s scored 314 runs, at an average of 19.62, a strike rate of 123.13 and has got the highest score of 44.

Richa’s (19 y/o) inclusion especially as a wicketkeeper-batter hopefully doesn’t turn out to be a nightmare of being benched in the World Cup fixtures for Hrishita Basu after all the hard yards she’s put in and less arguably has shown glimpses of being a fine keeper when compared to Richa Ghosh.

Top picks from domestic cricket :

Vice-captain, Shweta Sehrawat was the leading run-scorer for India in the U-19 Challenger Trophy and the Quadrangular U-19 T20 series with 163 runs and 164 runs coming off 4 innings on both occasions respectively. Shweta’s deputy in domestic cricket, Soumya Tiwari finished as the highest run scorer in the U-19 T20 Trophy with 255 runs to her name off 8 innings and also finished 2nd in the wickets takers list with 15 to her name off 8 innings.

Highly regarded batter, G Trisha too has made the cut following a good domestic run which sees her as the second highest run scorer in the Quadrangular series with 140 runs to her name off 3 innings. Sonia Mehdiya, Hurley Gala, and Hrishita Basu too in the little they were tested proved excellent and on the back of consistent performances have made the final cut.

Sonam Yadav, in the Challenger Trophy, finished as the highest wicket-taker with 7 scalps to her name off 4 innings. She registered the 4th best economy in the tournament of 3.81 and had also finished with the 2nd most dots bowled (54). Archana Devi and Titas Sadhu too were consistently among the wickets throughout their domestic run and are now deserving a part of the final 15.

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Out of the blue inclusions of Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh happen to take the headline, while Shweta Sehrawat and Soumya Tiwari were the expected ones taking the ranks of captain and vice-captain respectively. With the rest squad in the expected lines, India U-19 has a golden opportunity waiting to be grabbed come the ICC U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup following a lead-up of 3 domestic competitions and 3 series against other national U-19 sides.

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