For the second time, Harmanpreet Kaur will lead India women into the T20 World Cup in Australia starting February 21, whereas star batter Smriti Mandhana has retained her position as the vice-captain of the team.
The 15-member squad will see the like of Shafali Verma, Harleen Deol, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar and Shikha Pandey embark on their maiden World Cup journey, while batter Richa Ghosh has received her maiden India call-up. Ghosh has been rewarded for her exploits in the recent women’s Challenger Trophy, scoring 36 off 26 balls in one of the games with four boundaries and a six.
“If you talk about our team, our strength is spin,” Kaur told reporters on Sunday. “That’s the way we are looking to go. The only thing is how we are going to use them. I think they have always been good and have given us breakthroughs whenever we needed. Our strength is spin, so we have to stick to that. We are very positive that whenever we need them, they will definitely perform for us.”
The selectors also announced a 16-member squad for a tri-series in Australia prior to the T20 World Cup, with Nuzhat Parveen being the addition. That tournament starts on January 31 with England being the third team.
India have been grouped alongside Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and open will play the opener against four-time Champions Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The experienced trio of Harmanpreet, Mandhana and Veda Krishnamurthy have played for Big Bash League teams and the India captain is hopeful players could use that experience while batting on Australian pitches.
“It’s always good to go a bit early. Before the World Cup we are playing the tri-series and that’s the platform where we have to execute ourselves and if we are able to give our 100%, that would be very good for us,” he said. “That experience [of playing in the BBL] will definitely help. We know how the wickets are there, how the conditions are there and that will definitely give us extra boost.”
T20 World Cup Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodriguez, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Tania Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gaikwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy
Tri-Series Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodriguez, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Tania Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gaikwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Nuzhat Parveen