Women cricket's biggest extravaganza ICC Women's World T20 is back to enthral the sports enthusiasts as defending champions West Indies gear up to host the sixth edition of the biannual international championship, starting November 9, 2018. Explosive batswoman Harmanpreet Kaur will lead a 15-member Indian team, eyeing a maiden World T20 title.
The team, picked up by the All-India Women’s Selection Committee, will have opener Smriti Mandhana as Harmanpreet’s deputy. Smriti has been in sensational form this year. The likes of Mithali Raj, Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Anuja Patil, Ekta Bisht and Poonam Yadav have also been selected in the squad.
India are placed in Group B along with Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Ireland in the 10-team event. India will begin their campaign against New Zealand in Guyana on November 9, followed by matches against arch-rivals Pakistan (November 11), Ireland (November 15) and Australia (November 17).
As the ICC Women's WT20 approaches near, here is all you need to know about the India women's squad players.
India women’s cricket team captain Harmanpreet Kaur is an attacking all-rounder from Punjab. Harmanpreet’s game revolves around her favourite Virender Sehwag's mantra ‘see the ball and hit ball’. Having made her international debut in an ODI match against Pakistan at Bowral in March 2009, Harmanpreet hogged all the limelight when she became the first India cricketer to sign a Big Bash League contract. After representing India in 180 international matches, Harmanpreet is set to lead India in her first big tournament. It will be interesting to see how she leads her ladies with signature sixes.
Mumbai-born left-handed batswoman Smriti Mandhana is a promising young women cricketer from India. At 20, she had already become the second Indian woman to play a T20 league overseas, scored a century at World Cup and a double hundred in domestic cricket. In 47 T20s so far, Smriti has scored 468 runs at a strike rate of 112.28.
Mithali Raj is the most experienced player among the current lot of women cricketers. Former India captain, who plays at the top-order, has many records to her name and eyes many more to break even at the age of 35. The right-handed batswoman from Rajasthan will be the centre of attraction at the World T20 in Caribbean Islands. Having represented India in 82 T20Is, she has scored 2176 runs, with a best knock of 97 runs (not out). At the World T20, Mithali will aim for her maiden T20I century.
Mumbai-based teenage sensation Jemimah Rodrigues is no les celebrity than her senior teammates. Within a short span of time, she has cemented her position in the Indian camp for a very long time. While batting at the middle-order, she has proved to be a match-winner at many occasions. Jemimah has 334 runs to her name from just 10 innings of 14 T20Is that she has played. With consistent batting performances in the shortest format, she has an impressive strike rate of 137.14.
Veda Krishnamurthy, the backbone of Indian women's team middle-order, broke into the Karnataka senior team at the age of 13 and became an integral part of it in no time. The fittest among all in the Indian camp, Veda impressed the spectators the most with her impeccable fielding. Having played 53 T20Is for India, Veda has 647 runs to her name with a half-century as her career-best knock.
All-rounder from Agra, Deepti Sharma has been a consistent contributor in India's victories in the recent past. In 19 T20Is, she has claimed 18 wickets with her right-arm off-break bowling and made 95 runs at a strike rate of 90.47. However, she has been a bigger star in One-Day International cricket, thanks to her splendid knock of 188 runs against Ireland in Potchefstroom. With this, she became then second-highest individual scorer in Women's ODIs.
Taniya Bhatia is a wicketkeeper-batswoman, who plays at the lower middle-order for the Indian women's team. Taniya has played 20 T20Is for India and has made 66 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of 110. The Punjab-born right-hander, who will turn 21 on November 28, will look to put her best foot forward at the World T20, to be concluded on November 24.
Another women's cricket star from Agra, Poonam Yadav has won matches for India singlehandedly with her leg spin bowling. The 27-year-old spinner has claimed 61 wickets in 43 T20I matches with a four-wicket haul twice and a career-best spell of 4/9.
Left-arm spinner Radha Yadav made her place in the women's squad, replacing injured Rajeshwari Gayakwad in the T20I tri-series against Australia and England in March this year. Since then, she has claimed nine wickets in nine T20Is that she has played so far. The 18-year-old cricketer is yet to make her ODI debut. With that in perspective, Radha will try to prove her mettle at the mega event in West Indies.
Anuja Patil is an off-spinner, who has become a consistent wicket-taking bowler for the Indian women in the recent past. The 26-year-old from Kolhapur has played 42 T20Is for the women-in-blue and struck almost every time to get 38 wickets at an economy of 5.96 runs per over.
Ekta Bisht is a slow left-arm orthodox spinner from Almora, Uttar Pradesh. One of the most senior campaigners in the camp, Bisht has her 50 wickets to her name from 40 T20I matches. With a single four-wicket haul in T20Is so far, the 32-year-old can be the leader of the Indian bowling attack at the biannual international championship.
Dayalan Hemalatha is a top-order batswoman, who plays down the order for the national team and gives India an edge with her occasional off-spin bowling. Having debut recently in for India, Hemalatha has played just three ODIs with 41 runs and two wickets to her name so far. At the World T20, Harmanpreet might hand Hemalatha her T20I cap as she could be a trump card for the blues.
Motivated by the recent rout of Sri Lanka at their backyard in ODIs, right-arm medium-fast bowler Mansi Joshi will be a speedster to watch in the World T20. Apart from ten ODIs, the Punjab-born bowler has played just two T20Is and yet to make her name in the shortest format.
Seam-bowling all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar will make her national comeback at the World T20, with a spot win over experienced all-rounder Shikha Pandey. India will also be without the services of veteran pacewoman Jhulan Goswami, who recently retired from T20Is. With that in mind, Pooja can be skipper Harman's first choice in the fast-bowling line-up. So far, she has 12 wickets to her name from 11 T20Is with a career-best spell of 3/6.
With no Jhulan Goswami in the camp, Arundhati Reddy also can be an impactful player for the women-in-blue. Having made her debut for the India Women in the recently-concluded five-match series in Sri Lanka, which the visitors won 4-0, Reddy played all five matches. She managed to claim four wickets in five matches and proved expensive with an economy of 8.20. However, the World T20 can be her fortune changer.