Top Young India Women players to watch out in Women's World Cup 2022.
With the ICC Women's T20 World Cup less than a week away, all the teams will be applying permutations and combinations to deploy their best XI in the marquee event. A total of 10 teams will battle it out for the title, starting February 21.
Team India had a disappointing outing against the White-Ferns in the five-Match ODI series. They managed to win just one game in the series, a consolation win in the final ODI match after four back-to-back losses.
With just five days left for the World Cup, let us look at some of the new faces India Women might go within the mega event:
Richa Ghosh- India's Reliable Middle Order Batter
The 18-year old has made the most of the opportunities she has got so far. The fearless wicketkeeper-batter, who made her ODI debut against Australia in September last year, replaced the regular wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia owing to her phenomenal batting exploits.
Ghosh has made only seven ODI appearances for India to date and has a strike rate of over 100. She recently registered her maiden international half-century and smacked 65 runs off 64 balls during the second ODI against the White-Ferns.
Moreover, the aggressive middle-order batter also became the fastest Indian woman to score a half-century in ODIs, scoring 50 runs off just 26 deliveries in the 4th ODI against New Zealand Women.
All these milestones at the age of just 18 show how destructive she could get once she comes with all guns blazing with the bat. In Jemimah Rodrigues' absence, she could shoulder India's middle order and make sure the team finished on a high.
However, finishing a game isn't an easy task, one needs patience with the right set of mind. And with the team, which is known for its fragile middle order, the task could get even tougher. But for the wicketkeeper-batter, who idolizes MS Dhoni when it comes to hard-hitting and finishing the game, it won't be that difficult as she has some unreal hitting abilities. A sample of which was witnessed during India’s game against New Zealand in the ODI series.
Yastika Bhatia - Solid Top Order Batter
The 21-year old Baroda girl has made a name for herself as an explosive batter of the Indian set-up. After Richa Ghosh, if anyone has impressed recently in the 50-over format, it's none other than the left-handed top-order batter Yastika Bhatia.
Along with Ghosh, Bhatia has also been hogging the limelight over the past 12 months, most notably due to her exploits against Australia in September 2021 when she scored a fabulous half-century (64 runs off 69 balls) in the third ODI of the series to help India pull off their highest ever run chase in ODIs. It also ended the Australian team’s world record of a 26-match winning streak in the format.
She had a decent series against New Zealand as well, having smashed 91 runs in four innings at a strike rate of more than 70. With India looking to solidify their top-order batting, Yastika could provide that stability at number 3 and can build innings along with skipper Mithali Raj.
Sabbhineni Meghana- Fighter At The Top
Sabbhineni Meghana, who was slotted in the India Women's World Cup squad as a backup player, gave a stunning performance in the recently concluded ODI series against New Zealand.
She provided India with a dependable start in all the three matches she played against White Ferns in the absence of their regular opener Smriti Mandhana. During the second ODI, the right-handed batter smashed 49 runs off 50 balls, helping India in putting up a total of 270 runs, which they failed to defend. While Shafali Verma looked inconsistent throughout the series, Meghana grabbed all the opportunities that were presented to her with both hands.
Overall, in three matches, she accumulated 114 runs at an average of 38 and a strike rate of 108.57 – the performance which may leave the Indian think tank and the team management mulling over the opening batter’s place in the side.
"As Shafali hasn't been consistent with the bat over the last few months, could Meghana be a good option at the top along with Smriti Mandhana going into the World Cup? Or should team management stick with Shafali Verma?" Only time will tell.
Renuka Singh- The Speed Merchant
India pace bowler Renuka Singh, who made her ODI debut recently against New Zealand in the third match of the series, impressed one and all as she went on to pick three wickets in two games she played.
The Himachal Pradesh-born was the leading wicket-taker in the 2019–20 Senior Women’s One Day Trophy with 23 wickets. While in the 2020-21 edition, she scalped nine wickets in five matches.
Owing to her excellent performance in the 2019-20 edition of the tournament, she earned her maiden call-up to the national side last year for India’s tour to Australia for the bilateral series. After a decent performance down under, she was named in the Indian squad for the upcoming ICC Women’s World Cup that is going to be played in New Zealand from March 4.
The right-arm speedster might not be regular with wickets but she bowls at a decent pace and maintains consistent lines and lengths, which often troubles the batters. Going into the World Cup, she could provide a much-needed balance to the team in terms of pace attack.