Chopping and changing has been the trend with respect to the Indian women’s cricket team over the last one year. In 2021, India played three bilateral series, against South Africa, England and Australia. Every time the squad was announced there were many surprises thrown at the fans. It was as if different series demanded a different squad.
|India’s ODI squads in 2021|
|South Africa series||England series||Australia series||India’s World Cup 2022 squad|
|Mithali Raj||Mithali Raj||Mithali Raj||Mithali Raj|
|Smriti Mandhana||Smriti Mandhana||Smriti Mandhana||Smriti Mandhana|
|Jemimah Rodrigues||Jemimah Rodrigues||Jemimah Rodrigues||Yastika Bhatia|
|Punam Raut||Punam Raut||Punam Raut||Shafali Verma|
|Priya Punia||Priya Punia||Yastika Bhatia||Harmanpreet Kaur|
|Yastika Bhatia||Shafali Verma||Shafali Verma||Deepti Sharma|
|Dayalan Hemalatha||Harmanpreet Kaur||Harmanpreet Kaur||Renuka Singh Thakur|
|Harmanpreet Kaur||Deepti Sharma||Deepti Sharma||Pooja Vastrakar|
|Deepti Sharma||Shikha Pandey||Shikha Pandey||Taniya Bhatia|
|Sushma Verma||Pooja Vastrakar||Pooja Vastrakar||Richa Ghosh|
|Sweta Verma||Taniya Bhatia||Taniya Bhatia||Sneh Rana|
|Radha Yadav||Indrani Roy||Richa Ghosh||Jhulan Goswami|
|Rajeshwari Gayakwad||Sneh Rana||Sneh Rana||Meghna Singh|
|Jhulan Goswami||Jhulan Goswami||Jhulan Goswami||Poonam Yadav|
|Mansi Joshi||Arundhati Reddy||Meghna Singh||Rajeshwari Gayakwad|
|Poonam Yadav||Poonam Yadav||Poonam Yadav|
|Challuru Prathyusha||Ekta Bisht||Ekta Bisht|
|Monica Patel||Radha Yadav||Rajeshwari Gayakwad|
Changes for England series
Players IN: Shafali Verma, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Taniya Bhatia, Indrani Roy, Ekta Bisht, Arundhati Reddy, Sneh Rana
Players OUT: Yastika Bhatia, Dayalan Hemalatha, Sushma Verma, Sweta Verma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Mansi Joshi, Challuru Prathyusha, Monical Patel
Changes for Australia series
Players IN: Yastika Bhatia, Richa Ghosh, Meghna Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
Players OUT: Priya Punia, Indrani Roy, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav
Changes for World Cup 2022
Players IN: Renuka Singh Thakur
Players OUT: Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Shikha Pandey, Ekta Bisht
From these series, the most striking changes have been made in the wicket-keeper positions. Sushma Verma and Sweta Verma were a part of the South Africa series, however, they missed out on the future tournaments against England and Australia. Taniya Bhatia and Indrani Roy replaced the Verma duo for the England series, however, Roy missed out for the Australia series. Roy and Sweta Verma did not play even a single match in their respective tours. Come the Australia series, Roy was replaced by Richa Ghosh, who after some impressive performances has cemented her place in the Indian squad. It will not be a surprise if India plays Ghosh ahead of Bhatia in the World Cup.
Apart from the wicket-keepers, batters like Priya Punia, Jemimah Rodrigues, and Punam Raut have not been considered for the World Cup. Priya Punia did reasonably well in the South Africa series scoring 50 runs in two ODI innings. Punam Raut, who scored a brilliant 86 in the finals of the 2017 World Cup, had some good performances in South Africa and England series. Though she was part of the Australia series, she was not given the opportunity. Similarly, Jemimah Rodrigues, who has had a topsy turvy ODI career, showed some form during the Hundred and WBBL. But her single-digit scores in her last five ODIs did not help her cause.
Finally coming to the bowlers, it was quite shocking to see Shikha Pandey miss the bus. Pandey last played in the England series and could not make it to the playing XI for the Australia series. Youngsters like Meghna Singh, who was impressive in the Australia series and Renuka Singh Thakur, who had a good domestic season have been given the nod for the World Cup. Ekta Bisht has also missed out as India have decided to go with just one frontline left-arm spinner in Rajeshwari Gayakwad.
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.