So finally the much-awaited squad which all Women’s cricket fans were waiting for, is out.
There are the usual picks who everyone knew would make the cut but much to the surprise of the fans there are a few eye-opening picks which could well prove to be an X-Factor that the squad carries with them down-under. On the 12th of January, the BCCI announced the 15 women squad which will go to Australia to play the highly anticipated Women’s T20 World Cup commencing 21st Feb which will be carried on till the 8th of March 2020.
Now, the squad reads:
#1 Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain)
The 31-year-old skipper is fairly experienced in the format having played 85 T20I’s scoring 1476 runs in 72 innings at an average of24.60 with a staggering strike rate of 304.32. It will be her first stint as a captain in an ICC tournament which itself will be a huge challenge for the dashing right-handed batter.
#2 Smriti Mandhana
The southpaw has been opening for India since a long time and is one of the best batters in the world going around at the moment. She has been scoring runs heavily in this format having played 27 matches scoring 794 runs averaging 36.09 at a strike rate of 133.89. She holds the key every time India goes on to bat to provide that solid start in the shortest format of the game.
#3 Shafali Verma
Every Indian fan is delighted to see this name in the squad. Making headlines from the moment she entered International cricket, Shafali has kept on working on her batting and the fifteen-year-old will be seen opening the batting for India alongside Smriti Mandhana. In 9 T20I’s Shafali has scored 222 runs at an average of 27.75 with a healthy strike rate of 142.30. This youngster is one of the finds of last year and has already made a name for herself as a hard hitter of the cricket ball and will surely make some heads turn in that World Cup Down-under.
#4 Jemimah Rodrigues
19-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues on the back of some exceptional performances in the domestic circuit, Kia Super League and of course or India was a sure shot pick in this Indian line up. She is an exciting prospect for Indian cricket and with 28 matches, 590 runs at an average of 29.50 with a strike rate of 109.86, no one can count out India if Jemimah is still at the crease. It will be really interesting to see how this tournament pans out for her.
#5 Harleen Deol
The addition of right-handed batter Harleen Deol has been an inspired one. She has done well in the domestic circuit and has also done well for India whenever she has been given the opportunity. She is a decent off-spinner as well and can provide crucial overs in the middle order as well. She hasn’t played much of international cricket but she definitely will be a great asset to this India side.
🇮🇳 squad for the tri-series:
Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodriguez, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Tania Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, R Gaikwad, Shikha Pandey, P Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Nuzhat Parveen pic.twitter.com/i0rVHYBGoG
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) January 12, 2020
#6 Deepti Sharma
22-year-old Deepti Sharma is an exciting all-rounder who can give 4 overs of spin whenever handed the ball and her batting skills are for everyone to see as she provides solidarity in the middle. She has played 28 games and picked up 35 wickets at an average of 15.60 with an economy rate of 5.67. She is one of the mainstays in the middle order.
#7 Pooja Vastrakar
Pooja Vastrakar is a decent pace bowling all-rounder and her abilities with the bat were recently seen in the Challenger Series as she scored 99 runs in 5 innings for India B and managed to please the selectors as well. She bowls at a decent pace which will be vital in Australian conditions and she could feature regularly in the playing 11.
#8 Veda Krishnamurthy
The 26-year-old dynamic middle-order batter is has gained back her form in the recently concluded Challenger Series as she led her side India C to victory with her leadership skills and also with some good performances with the bat. Veda in T20I’s has played 49 games and scored 508 runs at a blistering strike rate of 225.77 which is outstanding given the situation she comes in to bat. Her experience in the Women’s Big Bash League will also be helpful to her to get used to the condition in Australia.
#9 Rajeshwari Gayakwad
28-year-old left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gaekwad is an economical bowler and is fairly experienced in this line up as she has picked 14 wickets in 12 games at an economy rate of 6.35. She has had a lovely Challenger Series which recently concluded where she was the highest wicket-taker in the tournament and will look to provide that fair bit of flair with her slower loopy deliveries.
#10 Taniya Bhatia
The wicket-keeper batter from Punjab is an agile keeper and has trained under former India Wicket keeper Kiran More. Her numbers don’t suggest the talent that she possesses as she has played 28 games and scored 58 runs in this format. She has 5 catches and 9 stumpings to her name and will be the vital cog behind the stumps for team India.
#11 Poonam Yadav
27-year-old pocket dynamite Poonam Yadav with her vicious spin bowling talent has made it into the line-up. Although she was injured during the Challenger Series and couldn’t take part in the tournament, her experience and her performances for India with the ball cannot be discounted at all. In 44 matches, Poonam has picked 55 wickets which makes her an automatic choice as she is the most experienced bowler of the lot in this format.
#12 Arundhati Reddy
Having picked 9 wickets in 11 innings, Arundhati Reddy is another addition to the pace bowling attack who can also use the long handle whenever required. She hasn’t played much of international cricket but her recent performances in the Challenger Series will surely give her a lot of confidence going into the world cup.
#13 Richa Ghosh
16-year-old Richa Ghosh has made it into the squad this time and surprised one and all with her ability with the bat first in the domestic circuit and then in the recently concluded Challenger Series. Richa was fearless in her approach and that is mainly the reason that she has managed to enter in this Indian squad for the World Cup. Scoring 98 runs in 5 innings, Richa Ghosh had a decent outing with the bat in the Challenger Series and will hope to get a hit out in the middle in Australia.
#14 Shikha Pandey
30-year-old medium-pacer Shikha Pandey is one of the most experienced players in this squad. She bowls upfront with the new ball and in 25 matches she has picked 12 wickets at an economy rate of 5.55. Her ability with the bat lower down the order are quite useful as she can tonk the ball a long way with her brawn power.
#15 Radha Yadav
The Addition of left-arm spinner Radha Yadav into this line up has been nothing but inspirational. Having already played a world cup in 2018, Radha is already quite experienced in this format and in 21 innings has picked up 34 wickets which will make her an obvious starter in this lineup. She is just 21 years old and her performances with the ball are nothing but crucial to her side in this competition.
These 15 players have made the cut to go to Australia and fight for that coveted T20 World Cup. It’s predominantly a spin heavy side as there are only 3 pacers in this attack and looking at the balance of the squad, only two might feature in the playing 11. But skipper Harmanpreet Kaur was quite confident when she spoke to the press saying that spin is their main strength and they would want to exploit that in Australia.
Now how well this squad plays only time will tell. But before the world cup, this squad will also be playing a tri-series in Australia with England being the third side. That should be a good warm-up before the real test begins from Feb 21st, 2020.
After playing 2 official warm-up games against Pakistan & West Indies on the 16th & 18th of Feb respectively, semi-finalists in the previous edition India, begin their campaign on the 21st Feb 2020 against the defending champions Australia in Sydney.
India squad announced for @T20WorldCup:
Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harleen Deol, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya B (wk), Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Rajeshwari G, Richa Ghosh pic.twitter.com/DFrSLpwIS5
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) January 12, 2020