In what came as a surprise, uncapped Richa Ghosh was a named in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup 2020 as well as for the preceding tri-series, while Mansi Joshi was excluded from the 15-member side, that was announced in Mumbai on Sunday (January 12).
The right-handed batter, who plays for Bengal, scored 98 runs in the four matches she played in the recently concluded Senior Women’s T20 Challenger Trophy. Her returns in the Senior T20 Trophy that was played in 2019 were also impressive, scoring over 200 runs at a strike rate of 135.81 in nine innings. She was the second-highest run-getter for Bengal, behind Rumeli Dhar.
The 16-year-old aside, experienced spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad also made it to the squad after leading India C’s attack in their triumphant T20 Challenger Trophy campaign. Anuja Patil, the off-spinner, as well as Joshi, the seamer, both of whom were a part of India’s last international series against West Indies, have been left out of the team that will travel to Australia for the tournament that starts from February 21.
Joshi travelled Down Under with the India A side earlier this month for the series against Australia A and picked up four wickets, including the lone Australia A wicket to fall in the first T20I. She was, by far, India A’s most consistent bowler through the series with the most economical returns. Through the T20 Challenger Trophy as well, the right-armer bowled with good pace and consistency, often rushing the batters for pace. In comparison, Arundhati Reddy, the preferred seam-bowling allrounder in the side, picked up two wickets in the series, apart from being a tad expensive too.
Another notable exclusion from the team was Dayalan Hemalatha, who showed promising with both bat and ball through the T20 Challenger Trophy. Her exclusion from both the India A and India B sides for the quadrangular series involving Thailand and Bangladesh in Patna meant there was much speculation surrounding her inclusion in the squad for the mega event.
Harleen Deol, who was injured and had to pull out of the T20 Challenger Trophy, finds a spot in the side and so does Poonam Yadav, who had injured her left hand. As expected, the Indian side has a spin-heavy look to it with Shikha Pandey being the only frontline seamer, having Reddy and Pooja Vastrakar as her other seam-bowling options.
The core of the batting unit remains the same with the trio of Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues expected to lift much of the weight, with flashes from young Shafali Verma. Both Ghosh and Deol will likely serve as the back-up batting options.
Nuzhat Parween is the only addition to the team that will play the tri-series featuring Australia and England ahead of the T20 World Cup.
T20 World Cup Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harleen Deol, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Richa Ghosh.
Tri-series squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodriguez, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Tania Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Nuzhat Parween.