Another ICC event is about to begin and it’s another chance for the India Women’s Team to make a mark. Indian women’s cricket has been on the rise over the last few years and they have been really good over the last 8-10 months.
A year ago, they were struggling. Right after the 2018 edition of the T20 World Cup, India suffered back to back series whitewashes at the hands of New Zealand (away) and England at home. However, the ‘Women in Blue’ have stormed back and have got some results going in their favour. They won 3-1 against South Africa before blanking West Indies 5-0. They even fought hard in the tri-series involving Australia and England in the lead-up to this T20 World Cup.
Thus, they will go into this tournament with some confidence. But they will have a barrier to cross. In the last two ICC tournaments, they’ve reached the final in the 2017 World Cup and the semifinals in 2018 T20 World Cup. They will look to go one step further this time.
Coaching & Support Staff:
WV Raman (Head coach), Narendra Hirwani (Spin Bowling Coach)
The ‘Women in Blue’ have built a strong squad over the last year or so. They looked down and out in the shortest format last March, having gone through six successive losses. But they have come back strongly. And that has been on the back of some consistent performances from the youngsters like Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Deepti Sharma. They form a strong core alongside the experienced players like Smriti Mandhana, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and Shikha Pandey.
India have a strong top-order. The likes of Mandhana, Verma, Rodrigues and Kaur form a strong top-order core. Verma looks an exciting talent while the experience of Mandhana and Kaur will be key. Rodrigues at No. 3 will be crucial as well. The spin attack is India’s big strength. The Indian women’s side have a variety of spinners and each one of them offers something different. Gayakwad has comeback to the squad really well and has been in good rhythm. Leg-spinner Yadav brings the X-factor while Deepti brings balance to the side.
However, there are a couple of issues for the Indian team. The big one will be their middle and lower middle order. They have seen quite a few collapses in the recent past, the most recent one being in the tri-series final. Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia and Deepti Sharma have blown hot and cold and need to pull up their socks in the big tournament.
Fast bowling is also an area of slight concern. Shikha Pandey will lead the pace attack. Pooja Vastrakar and Arundhati Reddy are the other options.
Key Players for India Women’s Team
Shafali Verma will be a key figure in the Indian line-up at the top of the order. She’s already shown glimpses of what she’s capable of. The 16-year-old opener has played 14 T20Is and has a strike-rate of 140.86. Her ability to smash it at the top will give Mandhana time to bat through the innings as well. Poonam Yadav didn’t feature in a single game in the tri-series but will be a vital component of the Indian bowling line-up. The leg-spinner has an excellent T20 record and is a wicket-taker and India are likely to turn to her in the middle overs in search of wickets.
India Women’s Team Squad
Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harleen Deol, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
February 21: Australia Women vs India Women – Sydney Showground Stadium, Sydney
February 24: India Women vs Bangladesh Women – W.A.C.A. Ground, Perth
February 27: India Women vs New Zealand Women – Junction Oval, Melbourne
February 29: India Women vs Sri Lanka Women, 14th Match – Junction Oval, Melbourne