During the 19th Apex Council Meeting convened in Mumbai on the 7th of July, 2023, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) obtained the necessary approval for India’s inclusion in the highly anticipated 2023 Asian Games. Staying true to their penchant for unexpected decisions, the BCCI has unveiled India’s squad for the tournament, featuring a notable abundance of surprising selections.
At first, the BCCI had announced the withdrawal of India’s teams from the forthcoming Asian Games, citing prior commitments as the primary reason. However, as anticipated, there came a significant turnaround in their decision. As a result, India is now set to participate in the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022, widely acknowledged as the second largest sporting event globally, surpassed only by the grandeur of the Olympic Games.
As stated in the BCCI press release, it has been officially confirmed that the women’s cricket event at the Asian Games will be held from the 19th to the 28th of September, 2023. Adding to the excitement, the competition will showcase the electrifying Twenty20 (T20) format, promising enthralling matches. Notably, India’s squad for the event sparked considerable intrigue due to the presence of several unexpected selections.
India’s squad for Asian Games:
Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (WK), Amanjot Kaur, Devika Vaidya, Anjali Sarvani, Titas Sadhu, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Minnu Mani, Kanika Ahuja, Uma Chetry (WK), Anusha Bareddy
Standby list of players: Harleen Deol, Kashvee Gautam, Sneh Rana, Saika Ishaque, Pooja Vastrakar
The unveiling of India’s 15-member squad for the upcoming event has brought about a wave of surprise, with a few unexpected choices garnering attention. One notable surprise is the inclusion of Titas Sandhu, who has managed to secure a place in the squad while Pooja Vastrakar finds herself on the standby list – an outcome that has left many astounded.
🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨
🇮🇳INDIA's squad for Asian Games announced:
Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (wk), Amanjot Kaur, Devika Vaidya, Anjali Sarvani, Titas Sadhu, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Minnu Mani, Kanika Ahuja,… pic.twitter.com/5Fvh67m1Qe
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) July 14, 2023
Additionally, the selection of Kanika Ahuja over Shreyanka Patil, despite Patil’s consistent performances, has raised eyebrows. This decision comes at the expense of Harleen Deol, who has lost her spot in the squad. Although both Sandhu and Ahuja are undoubtedly deserving of their inclusions, the timing of their selection raises questions, particularly as they are not currently a part of India’s squad in Bangladesh.
Richa Ghosh makes a return to Indian side
In a highly unexpected turn of events, Richa Ghosh, who purportedly had recently been deemed unfit and consequently left out of India’s squad for the tour of Bangladesh, is back in the mix, costing Yastika Bhatia a place in the squad. On the other hand, Renuka Singh Thakur, who was believed to have been sidelined for the Bangladesh assignment due to injury, continues to be absent from the squad scheduled to compete in September.
Rajeshwari Gayakwad called for the Asian Games
Amidst the notable shake-ups in the squad, there are some encouraging highlights to be acknowledged. Minnu Mani, Uma Chetry, and Anusha Bareddy have managed to retain their places in the squad. However, Rashi Kanojiya, who was called up for the Bangladesh tour, has been replaced by the seasoned campaigner Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who makes her return to the squad. It is worth noting that batter S. Meghana and pacers Monica Patel and Meghna Singh, who were included in India’s squad for the Bangladesh series, without being tested, have now been omitted from the upcoming event.
The consistent pattern of the BCCI women’s squad being announced without a comprehensive press conference that provides sufficient information on inclusions and omissions has become a recurring concern. Moreover, the selectors’ decision-making is questionable, particularly in terms of bringing back certain players who were previously dropped from the team, making unexpected call-ups, and seemingly overlooking deserving candidates who merit a call-up.
Unfortunately, this trend has become more pronounced, highlighting the need for improved communication and a clearer vision from the selectors in order to address these concerns in the future.