Jemimah Rodrigues, Shikha Pandey excluded from India's World Cup squad. Yastika Bhatia, Renuka Singh and Meghna Singh get a place.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Thursday, announced India women’s squad for ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 to be held in New Zealand between March 4 and April 3.
As expected, veteran India player Mithali Raj will be seen leading the last edition’s runners-up with Harmanpreet Kaur as her deputy.
Smriti Mandhana and 17-year old Shafali Verma are expected to open the innings for India with Yastika Bhatia, Richa Ghosh, and Deepti Sharma handling the middle-order along with Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur.
Senior bowler and legend Jhulan Goswami will lead India’s bowling attack in the mega event with Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, Poonam Yadav and Sneh Rana helping her in the bowling department.
Notable Exclusions – Shikha Pandey, Jemimah Rodrigues
However, the selection announcement didn't go well with fans as much of the focus shifted towards two notable exclusions – Shikha Pandey and Jemimah Rodrigues.
While Renuka Singh, Meghna Singh, and Yastika Bhatia, all of whom made their international debuts in 2021, have been included in the squad, the exclusion of the 32-year old seamer and top-order batter Rodrigues raised many eyebrows in the cricket fraternity.
Why Shikha Pandey and Jemimah Rodrigues were left out of the World Cup squad?
If one goes by the reports of Sportstar, Pandey and Jemimah were left out because of ‘underwhelming’ performances in the format and not because of 'fitness issues'.
The 21-year-old Rodrigues, who is coming off a successful WBBL season, missed out on the World Cup squad due to her 'not so good form' in the 50-over format. She played five ODIs after cricket resumed post the pandemic-enforced break in women's cricket, where she failed to make an impact. The Mumbai-born batter managed scores of 1, 9, 0, 8 and 4 in home fixtures against South Africa earlier this year and a couple of away games in England.
Jemimah was also included in the squad for the tour down under in September last year but failed to make it to the playing XI in the three ODIs. Following the lean patch and inexperience in the format, she has been kept out of the squad.
Former India international selector Gargi Banerjee, however, didn't look impressed with the exclusion of Jemimah from the World Cup squad.
“Jemimah is an extremely talented player but I must say that we could not groom her well. After she broke into the team at an early age, we should have ensured that she did not lose the way and should have groomed her. But that did not happen. So, despite being such a fine talent, she was on and off,” Banerjee told Sportstar.
“We should have worked on her batting a bit earlier so that she could have been ready for the World Cup. Unfortunately, a player of her calibre is missing out on the tournamen,” she added.
Coming to the 32-year-old Shikha Pandey, the pace bowler has featured in just three 50-over fixtures since her return in 2021 and got only two wickets. She made her last ODI appearance in July last year during the England tour.
The crafty seamer was also part of the Australia tour last year but didn’t get an opportunity in the ODI playing XI. Meghna Singh and Renuka Singh’s rise in the shortest format could be the reason behind putting Pandey out of contention.
Meanwhile, Gargi Banerjee stated that the decision for Pandey and Punam Raut's ouster is due to their inconsistent performance in the format.
“Shikha, Punam and Ekta have been given a lot of chances. But to be honest, they have not been consistent. Shikha has slowed down a bit and with youngsters coming up, maybe the selectors thought of giving them a chance,” Banerjee said.
Yastika Bhatia, Renuka Singh and Richa Ghosh Rewarded
Yastika Bhatia, who made a strong impact on India’s tour to Australia last year got rewarded for her mind-blowing performance down under. Being a left-hander, she will also provide flexibility to India's top-order, something which Team India has lacked in past events.
Richa Ghosh will keep gloves for the Indian side with Taniya Bhatia as a backup. Ghosh, like other players, impressed the selectors in Australia last year. Her fearless batting against some of the best bowlers in the world and quick running between wickets was the highlight of that tour.
Renuka Singh who is yet to appear in the 50-over format for India has got a blistering domestic record. She, along with Goswami, Meghna and Pooja Vastrakar wreaked havoc during the T20Is in Australia and the onus will be on them once again in the marquee event.
Team India is set to play their first World Cup fixture against Pakistan on March 6, 2022, at the Bay Oval, Tauranga. Talking of the WC schedule, after facing Pakistan, India will lock horns with New Zealand (March 10), West Indies (March 12), England (March 16), Australia (March 19), Bangladesh (March 22), and South Africa (March 27) in the group stage.
Squad of India Women’s for ICC ODI World Cup 2022
Mithali Raj (Captain), Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (wicketkeeper), Sneh Rana, Jhulan Goswami, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh Thakur, Taniya Bhatia (wicketkeeper), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav
Sabbhineni Meghana, Ekta Bisht, Simran Dil Bahadur
Here are some of the top twitter reactions from the squad announcement by BCCI for WC: