The BCCI has released a 15-member squad led by the veteran Mithali Raj for the Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022. Harmanpreet Kaur has been named Mithali’s deputy for the precious 50-over tournament.
There are a few surprises and a few obvious names in the squad. The squad contains a good mix of youth and experience, and that is a factor that makes this a well-balanced team. Hopefully, this will help Mithali to help India win their first World Cup title in New Zealand.
The explosive opening pair
The pressure will be immense on the opening duo of the Indian Women’s Team as they enter the tournament. If the opening pair of Shafali and Mandhana plays well, the Indian batting unit plays well.
The duo has played only six innings together in the 50-over format and has scored at an average of 48.16. They have won many matches in the shortest format of the game, and their opening pair is currently considered as one of the deadliest in the women’s cricketing fraternity in white-ball cricket.
Mandhana has been a terrific opener for the team since her debut, and she showed a glimpse of her batting magic in the last World Cup too. Smriti has scored 2377 runs at an average of 41.70, striking at 84.74, and is one of the pillars of this Indian side.
Mandhana’s opening duo, Shafali, is an exciting young talent who has already made her statement in International Cricket. Shafali hasn’t made a big impact in the one-day format with just 164 runs at an average of 27.33, but she has made an impact in the T20 format. Shafali’s dynamic batting style has made a positive impact on the Indian batting line-up and has enabled them to play aggressively, helping them to win matches.
X-factor: The experience of Mithali and Jhulan
The batting unit and the team will be led by the highest run-getter in the 50-over format, Mithali Raj. Mithali has been the pillar of this team for as long as one can remember. She has played 220 matches and has scored 7391 runs at a splendid average of 51.32. Mithali has also been a vital part of India’s transformation in Women’s cricket and has made her mark by scoring tons of runs in the World Cup.
Mithali has scored 1139 runs at 54.23 in 31 World Cup matches. Mithali’s experience in playing World Cup matches is immense, and she will want to score as many runs as possible to help her nation win their first Women’s World Cup.
The second veteran, Jhulan Goswami, is the leader of the bowling pack. Jhulan’s experience will be helpful not only for herself but also in grooming and helping her young pace bowlers, Renuka and Meghna Singh. Goswami has played 28 ICC World Cup matches, picking up 36 wickets. Her knack of picking wickets right at the start has helped India win many matches.
Both Raj and Goswami are one of the most important components of this team. The experience they have gained from playing the game for a long time will be invaluable to this team in the upcoming World Cup. It may well be their final World Cup, so both the veterans would want to end their career on a high with a win.
Talking points: Jemimah and Shikha miss the bus
Shikha Pandey, Jemimah Rodrigues, and Punam Raut are three big names that have been excluded from the 18-member World Cup squad. Pandey and Rodrigues are two names that raise eyeballs because of their splendid performances for Team India over the years.
The young middle-order batter from Mumbai, Rodrigues, has showcased great skills in her tenure in international cricket. She is young blood, who has a special gift with the bat in hand and is also an excellent fielder. Her numbers in ODIs may not justify her talent, but the youngster missing out from the squad is a matter of discussion.
Yastika Bhatia, who had a great series down under in Australia, impressed one and all, and she is the one who took her senior Mumbai batters’ place in the squad. Rodrigues hasn’t been in the best of form in ODIs, and her career average of 19.70 isn’t good enough for a top-order batter, which might be the reason for her absence from the squad.
The bowling all-rounder, Pandey, missing out on the World Cup squad is a surprise for many. The veteran has played 192 matches and has picked up 240 wickets at a strike rate of 39.1. She has a brilliant skill of swinging the ball, which could’ve proved beneficial in the New Zealand conditions.
The all-rounder may be overshadowed by the talent of the exciting youngsters, Meghna and Renuka. However, the experience and skills Pandey possesses are invaluable, which could have been critical for India in a big tournament like the World Cup.
Batters: Mithali Raj(c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia
All-rounders: Harmanpreet Kaur(vc), Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Pooja Vastrakar
Wicket-Keepers: Richa Ghosh, Taniya Bhatia
Bowlers: Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav
Stand-bys: Sabbhineni Meghna, Ekta Bisht, Simran Bahadur